Gabriel Heinze feared he would have become the forgotten man if he had stayed at Manchester United after this week completing a move to Real Madrid.
The Argentina defender initially hoped to sign for Liverpool but United blocked the move, insisting they would not allow him to join one of their Premier League rivals.
Heinze claimed a letter signed by chief executive David Gill indicating United would be willing to sell at a price of £6.8million constituted official approval for him to leave, but United disagreed and a three-man panel brought together to settle the dispute found in favour of the club.
Heinze had been expected to appeal that decision but has now completed a move to Spanish champions Real Madrid, after admitting he had no future at Old Trafford.
'I deserved better treatment after my efforts for the club,' he said.
'I had to leave because I am convinced (United boss Sir Alex) Ferguson would not give me a minute all season.
'Now I would love to play United in the Champions League.
'I thank the United fans - but they are very different to the directors.'
Heinze believes Ferguson was unhappy at the player being involved in last summer's World Cup after spending almost the whole of the 2005-06 season sidelined with a serious knee injury.
'I went to Spain for recovery but Ferguson thought it would be impossible for me to play in Germany to the proper conditions.
'You could say I won the bet but I upset him and from that moment on, things were different between us.'
Ferguson claims the player's representatives caused problems by making what he saw as unrealistic wage demands.
'Gaby came back unfit from the World Cup. We had to rehabilitate him again.
'Meanwhile, all through that time his agents kept having meetings with David Gill asking to leave - or double his money.
'We gave them a solid figure of finance but they would not budge from their own figure.
'They wanted him to be the top-paid player at Manchester United - which is absolutely ridiculous.'