The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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I’ll wear Real shirt with pride, says Becks

Madrid: David Beckham is the first to admit his form has not been up to scratch since his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid but the England captain is convinced he will triumph at the Spanish club.

“It’s a tough challenge but if I didn’t believe I could do the job I wouldn’t have taken it on,” Beckham told reporters on Tuesday. “I think I can achieve here. I can and will wear the Real Madrid shirt with pride.”

Beckham has played poorly in his two games in Spain, a goalless draw away to Valencia in a pre-season friendly and a 1-2 defeat by Real Mallorca in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

He did have the satisfaction of setting up Real’s goal, scored by Luis Figo, against Mallorca on Sunday with a pinpoint corner and admitted he was surprised when Figo took the next two corners that came his side’s way.

“It was a surprise because Luis had scored from the first and then they didn’t want another goal,” Beckham said. “The decisions about taking free kicks and corners on the field are spontaneous, though, and it depends on who is closest to the corner when it’s given.”

The England skipper also said he was upset at being substituted after just 55 minutes against Mallorca but was now looking forward to getting another chance to impress in the return on Wednesday — a match that will see him make his home debut.

“Any player that is substituted gets upset and I’m no different,” Beckham said. “It’s a football thing but it’s a long season and it will sort itself out. I’d give anything to score on Wednesday. It’s hard to put into words what it will feel like to run out at the Bernabeu.

Beckham’s mediocre displays have brought the first stirrings of criticism from the Spanish sports press but the England man is taking heart from the fact that Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo all started slowly after making their moves to the Bernabeu.

“I’m not worried about getting off to a quick start,” Beckham said. “Zizou (Zidane) and Ronnie (Ronaldo) both came in for criticism.

“Someone even said that when Zidane moved he wasn’t a player fit to wear a Real Madrid shirt and he’s one of the best players in the world, if not the best. Adapting to Real Madrid has been easier than I expected.”

In another development Beckham said he is confident a compromise can be reached between Real Madrid and England that will allow him to play for both club and country next week.

Real take on Villarreal on Wednesday or Thursday next week, but England captain Beckham is in danger of missing out on what would be his second league match of the season.

England are away to Macedonia in a European Championship qualifier on September 6 and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson is likely to want his captain to join up with the rest of the squad five days early.

“I’d like to play in both games,” Beckham said. “That’s the thing playing for club and country is all about — compromise.

“It’s important to get this sorted out. I’ve spoken to both bosses but it’s out of my hands. It will be decided by my club and my country, but there’ll be no argument.”

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