| David Beckham arrives at his hotel in downtown Madrid shortly after a medical checkup Tuesday. (AFP)
Madrid: England captain David Beckham signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid on Tuesday to complete his move from Manchester United and become the latest jewel in the Spanish club's crown.
Beckham put pen to paper on his agreement with Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, after passing an exhaustive medical at a hospital on the outskirts of the Spanish capital.
“I’m really very happy,” Beckham told Real Madrid’s website at a signing ceremony alongside club president Florentino Perez.
The transfer will be worth up to 35 million euros ($40.40 million) to Manchester United.
Spanish private health company Sanitas reportedly paid $400,000 to sponsor his medical, which was screened live on Real Madrid TV. The tests were also be beamed around the globe by 39 broadcasters who have bought the rights.
“He has passed,” said Alfonso del Corral, the doctor who examined Beckham. “There is nothing to stop him playing for Real Madrid.”
While the outcome was still subject to the results of blood and urine samples, del Corral told a news conference: “In our opinion he’s in perfect condition.”
Beckham left the clinic near Madrid after the medical.
The England captain, who is joining the Spanish champions in a deal worth up to 35 million euros, arrived in Spain earlier with wife Victoria and son Brooklyn aboard a private jet.
Beckham, wearing an all-white suit, flew into the military airport Torrejon de Ardoz, which Real Madrid often use to spirit in their big name signings, in a private Gulfstream jet direct from London.
Beckham was met by club officials and surrounded by minders on his way out of the airport. His car was given a police escort on the drive from Torrejon, some 20 kms outside the city, to the Zarzuela clinic on the north road to La Coruna. About 30 fans were waiting outside the base to greet the midfielder.
Real flew Brazil World Cup star Ronaldo into the airport on the outskirts of the Spanish capital last summer after signing him from Inter Milan.
Beckham will be presented to the media on Wednesday at the home of the Real Madrid basketball team — the 5,000 capacity Raimundo Saporta, where 542 sports journalists have been accredited.
Real stressed, however, that only footballing questions could be asked and they have refused to accredit journalists from the so-called Prensa Rosa — the numerous Spanish lifestyle magazines who would be more interested in Beckham’s off-the-field activities rather than his ability with a ball at his feet.
“It is going to be a simple presentation like those that we had for Figo and Zidane. There are not going to be any fireworks,” said Madrid’s director general Jorege Valdano on Tuesday.
Real legend Alfredo di Stefano is expected to present Beckham with his shirt on Wednesday although there will be no number on the back.
One of the questions still to be resolved is the shirt number to be worn by Beckham.
The No. 4 shirt of departing captain and centre-back 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 No. 9 and Beckham being handed No. 11, but it is unlikely to be decided before his presentation.
The No. 7 worn by Beckham for both Manchester United and England is held at Real by Raul, the immensely popular Spanish international striker, and is not up for discussion.
“I don’t even think of taking that off Raul,” Beckham said after his move to Real had gone through. “For me, he is the king of Real Madrid.”
One possibility is that he could take over No. 8 shirt that is currently held by fellow-Englishman Steve McManaman. Another number that may take Beckham’s fancy is No. 17, which last season was registered to defender Oscar Minambres.
Beckham could make his Madrid debut on the Balearic island of Mallorca. Real Mallorca were confirmed as Real’s Super Cup opponents when they defeated Reacreativo Huelva 3-0 in the Spanish Cup final on Saturday and that match would be played either August 16 or 17 — the same weekend as the English Premiership kicks off.
The midfielder, who has just returned from a ten-day promotional tour of the Far East, will join his new teammates for pre-season training in three weeks time. Provisionally, he is expected to arrive back in the Spanish capital on July 24.