The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The real deal or nonsense'

Friday people were saying it was a certainty that David Beckham will be signed by the country’s most successful football club, Real Madrid, by the summer.

But the likelihood of him being transferred from Manchester United remained as speculation in Britain, with rumours quashed by the footballer’s father.

Ted Beckham said his son was not on the verge of moving to Spain, despite being “devastated” at not being chosen by manager Sir Alex Ferguson to start the Champions League quarter final match against Real Madrid on Wednesday. He described reports of a £40 million transfer as “total nonsense”.

“On Wednesday after the game he told me he was disappointed, devastated really, about not being chosen for the game,” he said. “But my gut feeling is he will stay. He never said a word to me about Madrid. I don’t think he wants to go anywhere. He loves it at United, that is where his heart is. “He’s never said he wants to leave, and all this stuff in the papers is just nonsense. He has been there 11 years.

“Everything gets blown up. All that stuff about a boot being kicked in the dressing room. That was built up into something it wasn’t. There are tempers in the dressing room after games and this sort of thing happens. “No one knows what will happen in the future but what I am convinced about is that my son doesn’t want to leave Manchester United and it would break his heart if he did go. And that might be when he retires.”

Newspapers in Spain, however, confidently declared that Beckham and his wife Victoria were hunting for a house and looking at schools in the capital.

Marca, a daily football publication, said on its front page that Mrs Beckham had “sung like a canary” during a phone conversation with Naomi Campbell.

“David will play in Madrid in the coming year. In May we are going to Spain to look for a house,” she reportedly told the model, who was allegedly with Real Madrid players at the time.

The newspaper claims jokes already have begun in the Madrid dressing room about which players will miss more games when Beckham arrives. The team includes the likes of Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo and Raul, and Beckham, like his Real Madrid compatriot Steve McManaman, could have some time on the bench to contemplate his new club and his new city, if such they prove.

To many Madrilenos the Beckhams will not just be coming, but coming home, to a nation obsessed with celebrity. More than any other footballing couple, “Posh” (Mrs Beckham, a former Spice Girl) and “Becks” fit the Spanish format for success. They would be welcome fodder for Spain’s many gossip magazines and chat shows.

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