The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Joining Real a dream’
- Beckham believes move will not affect England career

Tokyo: David Beckham apologised to his new Real Madrid teammates for creating a media frenzy in the Spanish title run-in and said he had been promised his switch from Manchester United would not affect his England career.

“To join a massive club like Real Madrid is a dream,” the England captain said Thursday.

“I want to apologise to the (Real) players because all this is not caused by me. I don’t want to distract them ... they’re fighting to win the league and I didn’t want to upset that.”

Beckham agreed to join Real from Manchester United on Tuesday in a deal worth up to 35 million euros ($41 million). Beckham said he would have had second thoughts if his move had put his England place at risk.

“I wouldn’t have done it if it would have affected my England career,” he said on a promotional tour in Japan with pop-star wife Victoria.

“I have spoken to Mr (England manager Sven-Goran) Eriksson about it all because I think he’s an important part of my career and... he just said to me ‘Whatever you do, it doesn’t matter what club you play for, it doesn’t affect you being England captain.”

Beckham declined openly to criticise Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after the English champions announced last week they had agreed a conditional deal to sell the midfielder to Barcelona.

“Of course it could have been done differently but I don’t want to talk about that now,” he shrugged.

“Real said they wanted me and it is a chance to play with a great club, so I’m looking forward to it. I’m very excited to become part of Real Madrid.”

Beckham insisted he did not care that he could not wear his trademark number seven shirt at his new club. Spain striker Raul currently wears that number.

“I don’t even think of taking that off Raul. For me, he is the king of Real Madrid,” said Beckham.

“Whatever number they give me I will be happy. I have not even discussed with Real Madrid where they want me to play... but it is going to be a good challenge for me, on the field and off it.”

Beckham and his wife arrived in Japan amid a swirl of publicity on Wednesday for the start of an Asian promotional tour. They were welcomed in Tokyo by hundreds of screaming fans. It was his first trip to the country since last year’s World Cup.

Meanwhile, Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon has defended the club’s decision to sell Beckham to Real, saying he was concerned the England captain might not sign a new contract, adds a report from Manchester.

Kenyon said the £25 million ($41.87 million) transfer was only instigated after Beckham did not react positively to United’s offer of a new deal.

Guti hit hard

Frustrated Real Madrid midfielder Guti believes the signing of Beckham will leave him with no option but to leave the club.

“It won’t make me happy to leave my life-long team but I don’t think there’s any alternative,” Guti said in an interview with El Mundo on Thursday, adds a report from Madrid. “I’m tired of banging into walls all the time.”

Guti, who offered his first hint that he could leave Real in a radio interview over the weekend, missed Real’s training session on Wednesday, the day after the Beckham signing from Manchester United was confirmed.

The 26-year-old Guti is a Spanish international regular but finds it difficult enough to get into the Real team as it is.The arrival of England captain Beckham will create even more competition for places in the centre of the field and appears to have strengthened Guti’s determination to leave.

“The doors are all closing for me,” said Guti.

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