Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon has told fans that David Beckham had to be sold after his advisors stalled on contract negotiations.
Kenyon also defended his club's dealings in the transfer
Kenyon said the £25m transfer came about only after it looked unlikely that the England captain was ready to commit himself beyond the remaining two years of his contract.
"Normally, when a player has two years left on his contract we either renew his deal or accept that it might be best he move on elsewhere, allowing us to earn a fee on his sale," Kenyon told the Manchester Evening News newspaper.
"What does not make sense for the club is to let top players leave at the end of their contract on a free transfer.
"In David's case our approach in mid-May to his advisors about extending his current deal, which had just two years to run, did not meet with an immediate positive response.
"Around the same time, we were approached by several clubs in Spain and Italy, who were interested in buying David.
"We were also told by the player's advisors at the SFX agency that they too had been contacted by foreign clubs about David."
Kenyon added that he felt Beckham's move would benefit both the club and the player.
"We knew David was excited by the opportunity of playing abroad, and we felt that if we could generate a substantial fee in a transfer deal it would support our efforts to strengthen the squad for next season," he said.
"From that point onwards, it was our job at United to get the right deal for the club and SFX's job to do the same for David. In that regard, I believe we have both succeeded."
Kenyon also defended Manchester United's involvement in the transfer saga, saying they kept Beckham informed of all negotiations.
"Some people have criticised Manchester United for the way we have handled the deal, and for working behind the player's back," he said.
"This is simply not true. I know we conducted the negotiations and our dealings with all parties in the right and proper way during the whole process, with David's advisors kept
informed of developments throughout.
"The club has parted company with David on excellent terms."
Kenyon also dismissed criticism from supporters that United did not negotiate a reasonable fee for Beckham.
"The total fee we agreed with Madrid has been viewed by some as low, particularly when compared to the money spent by us and other top clubs on players in recent years," said Kenyon.
"However, the reality is that in the past 12 months the football transfer market has virtually collapsed, with player values falling dramatically.
"In this depressed market, we believe a fee of up to £25m for a player just two years from the end of his contract represents a very good deal for United."