David Beckham is adamant Manchester City will never usurp Manchester United as the vast riches on offer at Eastlands will not trump the rich tradition and history housed at Old Trafford.
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The city rivals meet in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final on Tuesday night and Roberto Mancini hinted in his weekly press conference that City could become bigger than their neighbours who have traditionally overshadowed City by a substantial degree.
With United's latest financial bulletin highlighting growing debt and City spending freely thanks to the riches of Sheikh Mansour, it has been suggested that the balance of power is decisively shifting in Manchester, with Tuesday's game at Eastlands a chance for City to flex their muscles.
But Beckham - who became one of the world's most recognisable faces thanks to his success at United, which included winning the Treble in 1999 - has told City that money cannot buy the kind of history and prestige that his former employers possess in abundance.
"I would never sign for Manchester City," Beckham told the Mirror. "That's mainly because I am a Man United fan. It doesn't matter about money. It is always about loyalty with Manchester United. They are the team I supported and the team that I played for for years and I just couldn't bring myself to sign for City. I couldn't do it.
"City will never be bigger than United. Money does a lot for a club and a team, but being successful and being one of the most recognised clubs in the world doesn't come from the money.
"It's about history. There aren't many clubs that can boast the history of Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona or AC Milan. It's not about having all the money in the world. All that does is creates attention but you can't buy the history of a club."
Beckham has also addressed recent reports which claimed he would consider retiring following the World Cup finals in South Africa. As well as dismissing that out of hand, the midfielder has even stated there is an outside chance he could still be playing when, at the age of 40, the following World Cup takes place.
Jean-Pierre Messerman - a doctor at AC Milan, the club that Beckham has re-joined on loan from LA Galaxy - recently claimed the midfielder could be fit enough to play in Brazil in 2014.
"I would love to still be playing in five years' time," Beckham said. "But we will have to wait and see. I definitely think it is possible if I look after myself and carry on doing what I am doing.
"I haven't said anything about retiring and I'm not thinking about it. It's something that's definitely not true and it's not going to happen. I can't even see the logic in the idea. If I was to be picked in the squad and we were to go all the way in the World Cup and win it, people might turn round and say 'it's a great time to quit'.
"But I'd still carry on playing. It's all about your passion for the game and how much you love playing, not reaching a certain level and saying 'you can't better that'.
"When the doctor told me the story about the TV crew, I thought about Brazil in 2014 for a moment. It may be something that is out of reach but I wouldn't rule myself out of playing at that time."