| David Beckham, after scoring his first goal for Real Madrid in an official match, in Madrid on Wednesday. (AFP)
Madrid: David Beckham marked his home debut for Real Madrid with a spectacular headed goal as the reigning Spanish champions beat Real Mallorca 3-0 to win the Super Cup 4-2 on aggregate.
Real opened the scoring in the final minute of the first half when Raul slid in to convert a cross from Roberto Carlos. Ronaldo made it 2-0 eight minutes after the break, the Brazilian running on to a pass from Luis Figo and slipping his shot past Leo Franco, before Beckham capped a much-improved performance with a fine goal after 73 minutes.
The England captain, playing his first game for Real at the Bernabeu since his $38 million move from Manchester United, beat Mallorca keeper Leo Franco to Ronaldo’s left-wing cross and powered his header into the empty net. Beckham, not famed for his heading ability, raised his arms in triumph and delightedly accepted the applause from the 55,000 Bernabeu crowd before being embraced by his team mates.
He scored once on Real’s pre-season tour of Asia, but this was the midfielder’s first official goal in the white shirt of Real Madrid following his move. Coach Carlos Queiroz said that scoring his first goal would help Beckham settle into the side. “People have to understand that it’s not easy to adjust to a new country, a new team and a new style of football.
“But little by little he is gaining more confidence, he’s a good player and I know that he can play even better than he did tonight,” Queiroz said.
Victory for Real in the traditional curtain-raiser against the winners of the King’s Cup earned them the first trophy of the new Spanish season and settled the question of Beckham’s ability to fit into the Real side.
Beckham had played poorly in his first two appearances for Real in Spain but he immediately looked more comfortable in his customary right-sided midfield position. The England man received a huge cheer from the crowd for his first touch and he went close to an opening goal with his first free-kick from the left of the area after just seven minutes. He squandered two more good opportunities from dead ball situations in the first half but he was a far more active participant than he had been in Sunday’s defeat in the first leg.
The opening goal came when he skipped his way into the box and powered in a shot that Franco could only palm away. Roberto Carlos, doubling up on the left, was first on to the rebound and his cross gave Raul a simple chance.
Zidane also started the move that led to Real’s second goal, finding Figo in space on the right to set up Ronaldo, and the Frenchman’s swift break from defence led to Beckham’s first official goal for the club. Mallorca came close thrice but were thwarted by Iker Casillas.
The Real keeper did well to tip over a free kick from Arnold Bruggink just before the hour mark. Ariel Ibagaza forced a similar save from Casillas after 69 minutes and the Spanish international keeper was grateful to his crossbar for keeping out Fernando Nino’s header.
“It won’t get any better than that for a debut, I don’t think,” Beckham told reporters. “I said that playing here tonight was going to be a special occasion for me and a special feeling.It was quite special because I don’t score many with my head,” Beckham said. “God knows (when I scored the last one with my head). I really don’t know.”