With their purchase of David Beckham, Real Madrid have completed an unmatched collection of soccer’s crown jewels, a sextet of the best and brightest attacking players in the world.
Beckham will join Real Madrid after the two most glamorous clubs in the world agreed a fee of around 35 million euros ($41.31 million) for the England captain on Tuesday (as reported in Wednesday’s Late City edition). Beckham is expected to earn around six million euros a year plus bonuses at the nine-times European champions and will undergo a medical in Madrid on July 1.
The developments since...
Becks may debut on August 2: Beckham could make his debut for Real Madrid in China on August 2, the Spanish club said on Wednesday. The nine-times European champions will face a Chinese XI in Beijing before going on to play various fixtures in Japan. Real will arrive in China on July 25 and spend a week training in the provincial capital Kunming.
“Real director Emilio Butragueno has just spent several days in Kunming examining first hand the playing surfaces and hotels,” Chinese Football Federation official Zhu Heyuan said.
Free-kick duel: Roberto Carlos welcomed Beckham to Real Madrid on Wednesday but warned the England captain he would face a fight to take the team’s free-kicks next season.
“I’ll let him take some of them — but only some,” the Brazilian joked in sports daily Marca.
“He’s scored some beautiful goals from free-kicks but he doesn’t have to take all of them.”
Beckham is famous for his free-kicks — one last-minute effort against Greece guaranteed England a place in the 2002 World Cup finals. Roberto Carlos is renowned for one spectacular effort against France in 1997 but his strike rate from free kicks is poor compared with the Englishman.
“Our president Florentino Perez has shown he can sign the biggest players,” Roberto Carlos said. “I’m sure Beckham will be well received...”
The trip to Asia: Soccer megastar Beckham’s move to Real Madrid appears timed for maximum publicity in Asia, where the English captain’s multi-million-dollar image sells everything from motor oil in Malaysia to candy in Japan. Real Madrid hope Beckham’s rock-star-like celebrity in Asia will pay handsome dividends in the form of merchandising rights in countries such as Japan. Polishing that image, Beckham arrived at Tokyo’s Narita airport to the screams of hundreds of fans on Wednesday to kick off an Asian promotional tour which gives Real Madrid a chance to climb aboard the Beckham publicity machine.
The face of English soccer in Asia, Beckham’s ever-changing looks sell motor oil in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. His face helps market beauty products in Japan. One Japanese confectionery company built a chocolate Beckham statue in a recent promotion. Many of United’s estimated 16 million supporters in Asia are not impressed. A third support the player rather than the club, according to branding agency FutureBrand, leaving most to ponder the club’s fate in a post-Beckham era.
After nearly a week in Japan, Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, jet to Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam for a threeday tour sponsored by Castrol, the motor oil company.
The trip is far more about business than sport.
A new king has arrived: Move over Juan Carlos! Spain prepared to crown a new king on Wednesday as the soccer-mad country’s media went into a frenzy. “God save the new king!” enthused one excited television reporter as the Spanish media — in which football and celebrity gossip vie for prominence — erupted in excitement.
Pictures of the couple, the darlings of the British tabloid press, were splashed over the front pages of Spanish newspapers. “King Midas of football,” said Marca, emphasising that the “Spice Boy” would bring in more money in merchandising than Real Madrid’s recent high-profile signings, such as Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
“The great debate — where should Becks play,” said Marca. “In the centre or on the right'”. The newspaper also quoted Real Madrid’s Brazilian fullback Roberto Carlos as saying he might allow Beckham to take a few of his trademark free kicks.
“Real Madrid wins and Laporta makes himself look ridiculous,” carped right-wing Spanish daily La Razon.
Not No.7, confirms Valdano: Beckham willingly gave up his famous number seven shirt and accepted Real Madrid’s existing salary and contract structures to secure his move from Manchester United.
Real’s sporting director Jorge Valdano said the England captain had not asked for any special treatment as the deal was being arranged. “There are already many stars in the Real Madrid dressing room,” Valdano said. “Beckham had to give up some of his image rights and his number and he had to adapt to our salary guidelines.”
That will see Beckham losing the number seven shirt he has worn for so long for England and Manchester United and receiving exactly the same salary as the club’s other star players.
Valdano also ruled out Beckham wearing a number like 77 or 6+1 to retain the “seven” association. “Beckham will follow the norms at Real Madrid and wear a free number between one and 25,” Valdano said.
The transfer fee rider: Manchester United will get the full 35 million euros transfer fee for Beckham only if Real Madrid reach the Champions League quarter finals in each of the next four seasons. Just 7.5 million euros of the fee will be paid up front with another 17.5 million euros over the next four years in equal instalments, the English champions said in a statement. Another 1.25 million euros will be due each time Real Madrid qualify for the Champions League over the next four seasons, and a further 1.25 million euros is payable if the nine-times European champions advance to the quarter finals.
Proceeds from Beckham’s sale will be used to support Manchester United’s business development, including playing success at the highest level.