To Manchester United fans he'll always be a legend who will never be disrespected for the years of loyal service he has given to the club he has supported since childhood.
To Sir Alex Ferguson, David Beckham is just another footballer, one of many who come and go, and tonight the canny Scot has the Essex boy and his AC Milan team-mates firmly in his sights. United have never beaten Milan in European competition, a situation Sir Alex is determined to rectify this evening.
For those old enough to remember, in 1969, United, the then defending European Champions were cruelly eliminated from the competition by AC Milan, when a Denis Law goal was ignored by officials, leaving United as semi-final losers.
Tonight though, Milan officials are more concerned by security. Labourers have been toiling for days installing a series of nets around the San Siro to protect David Beckham's eyebrows from flying, carelessly kicked boots.
"The Manchester fans are not a problem for us," said Milan spokesperson Bonano DelMonte. "It is the manager, Mister Ferguson who is the problem. We need our players to be protected from his naughty temper at all times. After all, if this man will attack his own team with teacups, hair driers and flying football boots, then we must ask ourselves what he would do to our players? It is not a risk we are prepared to take. There will be netting between Mister Ferguson and our players at all times."
When we asked Sir Alex for his response to the Milanese reaction to his presence, he said:
"Who are you? I don't know you. Piss off."
More as we get it.