Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has thanked Sir Alex Ferguson for making his career successful and says he views the manager like a parent.
25 Years United on ESPN Classic
Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League triumph during his decade at United but crossed swords with the Scot over various incidents, including a high-profile occasion when Ferguson kicked a boot at him causing a cut that needed two stitches over his eye.
However, ahead of Ferguson's 25th anniversary at the club, the former England international has paid tribute to the impact that he has had on his career.
"It's been amazing. But that's what happens when you have stability, and a man that is so passionate and hungry, who has the love for one club that he has," Beckham told the United Review.
"That loyalty and respect for one club is unbelievable and it's not something you see these days. It says a lot about United as a club and the manager. It's 50/50 with my parents - that's how highly I regard the boss.
"My parents were the ones who brought me up and helped get me to a certain level in my career, and the manager is the one who took me to a whole different level. He's the sole reason why I was successful. He gave us everything we needed to become the players and the men that we are today."
Beckham's abiding memory of his former boss is not of flying boot, or of the famous 'hairdryer' treatment in the dressing room, but of something that happened back in May 1989, when he was 14 and travelling to Old Trafford to sign schoolboy forms for the club.
"It was my 14th birthday," Beckham recalled in the The Times. "We were in the dining area where the players ate. The manager was just about to go into a game but he brought out a cake for me."
"It's my favourite moment, my best memory in football. I have still got the photograph. It was in his office that I actually signed the papers to become a Manchester United player at 14, leaning over his desk.
"I was signing for my dream club. I was a huge United fan but if I'd got a bad feeling when I first went up there, that might have changed. But from when I first went to Old Trafford, you had the feeling of it being a family club. I stepped into being a part of that family. The way the manager treated young players was the reason why they wanted to play for United.
"I was just a young kid who had just signed for the club so I wasn't even a youth-team player, but he made me feel as if I was playing in the first team already and that was his way."