LONDON: England captain David Beckham, left out of Manchester United’s starting line-up for Wednesday’s night Champions League thriller against Real Madrid, will be playing football in Spain next summer, it was reported here yesterday.
Beckham came on for the last half-hour to lash in a free-kick and bundle in a close-range effort in the 4-3 win over Real which was not enough to overturn the 3-1 defeat in the first leg in Madrid.
But the Daily Telegraph said yesterday a deal was being worked on to take the game’s second most marketable player after Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.
Sources say there is a 90% chance of him starting next season in Spain.
For the second time in a week, Beckham started a vital United game in the stands – Arsenal last Wednesday and the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Wednesday night.
Manager Alex Ferguson opted, in Paul Scholes’ absence, for Juan Sebastian Veron and put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in Beckham’s shirt.
Ferguson and Beckham have been unhappy partners this season with Ferguson famously kicking a boot into Beckham’s face in a dressing room rage after the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.
And Wednesday night’s team selection appeared to indicate Ferguson does not see Beckham as vital to his side.
Both United and Real have consistently denied any transfer but Beckham’s iconic status in Asia has reportedly convinced Real to splash out £38mil to prise him away from United.
Last week United’s Spanish goalkeeper Ricardo revealed that Beckham, 27, had been asking him about the quality of schools in Madrid. Beckham and his pop star wife, Victoria, have two young sons, Brooklyn and Romeo.
Real believe the deal would be worth doing purely because of the spin-offs in marketing terms.
“In commercial terms I want us to copy and beat United,” Real president Florentino Perez was quoted as saying last week. – AFP