In these heady days of player power, it's not often that managers can or will stand up to their key players.
But this is what Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson did to star striker Wayne Rooney.
Cracks were appearing in the relationship between the two after Rooney was substituted during a 2-2 draw at Bolton in September, and then left out of games at Valencia and Sunderland. Sir Alex at the time cited an ankle injury as the reason these decisions were made.
Then came the bombshell.
After playing in England's bore-draw against Montenegro last week, Rooney responded to a question about his fitness by saying "No, I've had no ankle problem all season."
Four days later Rooney was left out of the starting lineup for the Premier League clash with West Brom.
This might have been form related—the striker has just one goal for United this season—but it was also Sir Alex letting Wayne know just who is in charge at United.
And you don't contradict the man who has become the most successful British manager of all-time.
Despite this, Rooney is a talented player, one of the best in the world. So should Fergie have been more gentle with the ex-Evertonian?
Manchester United signed Rooney for £20 million in the summer of 2004.
Since then he has won the Premier League three times, the Champions League once and the League Cup twice while receiving millions of pounds a year to play football.
He has also received a huge amount of support from the club when allegations about his private life were smeared across the front pages of the country's tabloids.
How does he repay them?
By refusing to sign a new contract, creating the threat that he could leave on a free transfer when his current deal runs out in 2012.
United has invested a lot in Rooney, and his petulance this season will cast doubts on the kind of person he is.
Fergie doesn't need to be held ransom by one player, even if it is Wayne Rooney.
Rooney claims his desire to leave the club is because he wants to win trophies, and was concerned about the clubs' ability to attract world-class players.
If he actually believes that United lack ambition, then he really doesn't under Ferguson.
Fergie has won 27 trophies in his time at Old Trafford, and isn't about to let the club stop competing.
And with that man at the helm, why would they ever struggle to attract the world's best?
United continued to challenge at the top of the Premier League when Cristiano Ronaldo left. They will do the same if Rooney leaves.
Roy Keane, David Beckham, Jaap Stam, Cristiano Ronaldo.
All four were great players for Manchester United.
All four were allowed to leave by Sir Alex.
Few managers have been ever been quite so good as Ferguson is at knowing when it's time to let players leave.
He was told that "You'll win nothing with kids" by Alan Hansen after allowing players such as Paul Ince, Mark Hughes and Andrei Kanchelskis to leave.
But they were replaced by the likes of Beckham, the Nevilles, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, propelling United to even greater heights.
As long as the United have Fergie, fans should trust their manager's judgement.
Alex Ferguson was trying to protect Rooney after his season had been blighted by poor form and unwanted headlines in the papers.
He may well have exaggerated any injury Rooney had—the striker may even be fully fit.
And yes, maybe Wayne decided that he didn't want to hide behind any lies and if he was playing badly, then he might have wanted to let fans know that he was trying his best to get back into form.
But when your manager is Ferguson, surely you let him know in private that you'd have preferred matters to be handled like that.
You do not act like a teenager who has been told to go to their room, and tell the world's media that basically Alex Ferguson is a liar.
The Premier League is more competitive now than it has been for several decades.
Manchester City and Tottenham join Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United as teams all capable of winning the top division.
But anyone who thinks the United will not be able to compete because Wayne Rooney leaves is sadly mistaken.
Sure, he is an immense talent and any manager would want him in his squad.
However, United's major problems have been at the back this season. They are leaking goals—soft ones at that—that previously they just haven't given away.
Upfront, the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Nani have shown they are more than capable of getting the goals that Rooney hasn't been scoring this term.
There is youth on the squad, and Sir Alex will more than likely turn the £50 million or so that he gets from shipping off Rooney into a couple of world-class talents.
United will challenge for the top prize this season, with or without Rooney.