The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
‘Raul will always be the Real mascot’

Madrid: David Beckham will never supplant Raul as Real Madrid’s standard-bearer, club president Florentino Perez said before the England captain pulled on the white shirt of Real for the first time this week.

“Great players have come to Real Madrid and more are coming but our symbol will always be Raul,” Perez told Spanish state television.

Real signed Beckham from Manchester United in a 35 million euro ($40.02 million) deal earlier this month and made a second capture from Old Trafford by appointing Carlos Queiroz, United’s assistant manager, to replace Vicente del Bosque as coach.

Reports in Spain suggested that in return United could move in to sign Spanish international forward Raul, the Spanish champions’ most popular player, but Perez moved to scotch those rumours.

“There’s no football at the moment, which means we go into overdrive on rumours,” said Perez.

“My objective as club president is to ensure that Raul stays on and retires here as Real Madrid captain,” Perez said. “I’ll work as hard as I can to make that happen.”

Beckham is due in Spain on Tuesday for a medical and will be presented as a Real Madrid player at 1000 GMT on Wednesday but he is likely to be given a shirt without a squad number.

The number four shirt of departing captain Fernando Hierro is the only free shirt at the moment but that could change if Fernando Morientes is transferred before the start of the new campaign.

That could see Ronaldo taking the number nine and Beckham being handed number 11, but it is unlikely to be decided before his presentation on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Raul said he and his teammates would help Beckham and his pop star wife Victoria adapt to the Spanish way of life and even suggested they could invite the Beckhams over for paella, the Spanish delicacy.

“It’s not for me to give anybody advice about their private life. But Beckham and his wife will win over the people if they keep on doing what they have so far. Why do they need to change' In England they’re much-loved.

“We’ll try and mould David to Spanish lifestyle quickly and yes, if necessary, we’ll invite him to eat paella.”

However, he also made it clear that the England will be just one of a galaxy of stars at the nine-time European champions.

“Beckham has enough charisma to win over the fans quickly. All he needs to do is to show his class on the pitch. He’s one of the world’s best and I’ve always been a fan.

“Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo are other players in the dressing room. That’s what’s best about this team. Beckham knows it and that will be positive for him,” Raul told The Sun.

“He’ll help us a lot but if the rest of us do not play our part we won’t win any titles. Contrary to what many say, Real are a unit. Individual brilliance is always a last resort.

Email This Page