LONDON: Manchester United's David Beckham will join Real Madrid after the two most glamorous clubs in the world agreed a fee of around 35 million euros (US$41million) for the England captain on Tuesday.
Beckham is expected to earn around six million euros a year plus bonuses at the nine-times European champions and will undergo a medical in Madrid on July 1.
Beckham helped Manchester United win six of their eight league titles in 11 years, and the European Champions Cup in 1999. He earned a reported US$143,000 a week at Manchester United.
His net worth is US$79.5 million, according to a recent survey of Britain's richest people in The Sunday Times.
With the transfer, Real Madrid have completed an unmatched collection of football's crown jewels, a sextet of the best and brightest attacking players in the world.
Since taking over as Real Madrid president three years ago, Florentino Perez has turned the Santiago Bernabeu stadium into the natural setting for the game's greatest attractions.
His first act was to bring in Portuguese winger Luis Figo from rivals Barcelona for a world record fee of US$56 million.
He smashed that record to sign French playmaker Zinedine Zidane in 2001 and last year negotiated the US$44.2 million signing of striker Ronaldo, top scorer in Brazil's World Cup triumph. All three have won the World Player of the Year award.
When Perez arrived the team could already boast home-grown striker Raul, rated this season by Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson as the best player in the world, and rampaging Brazilian wing-back Roberto Carlos.
Real are the most powerful and successful club in the world. With Beckham, their global popularity and marketing reach will only grow.
Beckham, travelling to Japan yesterday as part of a promotional tour of Asia for his sponsors, issued a statement through his agents SFX saying he was delighted to move to Spain.
“I recognise that this is an amazing opportunity for me at this stage in my career and a unique and exciting experience for my family,” he said.
“I know that I will always regret it later in life if I had turned down the chance to play at another great club like Real Madrid.
“I will always hold precious memories of my time at Manchester United and Old Trafford as well as the players, who I regard as part of my family, and the brilliant fans.”
Beckham could to make his debut for the club on Aug 2 when they play a Chinese XI in Kuming before touring Japan.
Italian clubs Inter and AC Milan showed an initial interest in Beckham but a week ago United announced they had agreed a conditional deal to sell him to Barcelona.
Beckham's agents issued a statement saying he was “surprised and disappointed” at United's announcement and within days Barcelona's greatest rivals, Real, jumped in.
Under the agreement, 7.5 million euros of the total fee will be paid by Real upon completion of the sale, and 17.5 million euros over the following four years in equal instalments.
The remaining 10 million euros is conditional upon Real's performances in the Champions League.
The Englishman's challenge will be to show he can improve a Real forward line that is already without question the best in the business and probably in the history of club football.
The main problem for Real coach Vicente del Bosque, assuming he is given a contract extension, will be to find a place for Beckham in his team.
In Figo, Real have one of the game's outstanding right-sided midfielders. Beckham may have to play a slightly more defensive role than he is used to alongside Frenchman Claude Makelele in the centre of the pitch.
Certainly, Real will not consider selling one of their existing prized assets to make room for their new signing.
“One thing's for sure: Figo will be playing,” Real Madrid sporting director Valdano told Radio Marca. – Agencies