• In comparison to the emotionally-charged axing of a striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy, who averaged 30 goals a season, even the sale of David Beckham for, in Real Madrid's opinion, "peanuts", and the never-explained departure of Jaap Stam appear to be the rational acts of a sage and far-sighted manger. To offload a player because he could not be reconciled with a role within the squad is a failing of management.