Just another player in the team

LONDON: Real Madrid star Raul says England captain David Beckham will be just one of a galaxy of stars at the nine-time European champions. 

But Raul, reportedly in trouble last week when he allegedly slammed the decision to axe coach Vicente Del Bosque plus veteran defender Fernando Hierro, believes the former Manchester United player can help Real win even more trophies. 

“Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo are other players in the dressing room. That's what's best about this team. Beckham knows it and that will be positive for him,” Raul told the Sun newspaper. 

“He'll help us a lot but if the rest of us do not play our part we won't win any titles. 

“Contrary to what many say, Real are a unit. Individual brilliance is always a last resort. 

“It was claimed we couldn't fail with Ronaldo and the others but we've stumbled in Europe and in Spain. Now they're saying the same about Beckham but we'll have to be very focused on the pitch.  

“From the news I have he's a regular bloke who won't have any difficulty adapting. 

“We'll simply help him, like any new player who comes into the squad. No footballer is treated differently, whatever he's called.” 

Real have broken the world transfer record twice in the last three years with the signings of first Portuguese star Luis Figo and then Zidane for 72mil euros (US$72mil). 

And last year they spent 45mil euros (US$45mil) on Brazilian superstar Ronaldo, despite a recession-hit transfer market.  

Raul agreed the England captain can ensure Real go down in history as one of the best sides football has ever seen. 

“As far as names go, the truth is that we're now talking about a great Real Madrid team. If we can start winning, we'll be an historic, almost legendary side. 

“Beckham has enough charisma to win over the fans quickly. All he needs to do is to show his class on the pitch. 

“He's one of the world's best and I've always been a fan.” 

Raul expects Becks and his popstar wife Victoria to adapt to life in Spain. 

“It's not for me to give anybody advice about their private life. But Beckham and his wife will win over the people if they keep on doing what they have so far. Why do they need to change? In England they're much-loved.  

“We'll try and mould David to Spanish lifestyle quickly and yes, if necessary, we'll invite him to eat paella.” 

Raul dismissed reports of a potential dispute over his No 7 shirt. 

“A lot of fuss has been made. There's an internal rule here which says that new players are given numbers which are free. That's a fact and Beckham confirmed it in Asia.” 

Fears that Beckham would have to compete with Figo for a place in the Real Madrid team next season were dispelled by new Real coach Carlos Queiroz last week. 

Queiroz, Beckham's coach at Manchester United where he was deputy to Alex Ferguson, is considering switching Beckham to central midfield so Figo can continue on the right-hand side.  

Beckham was used on the right by United manager Alex Ferguson. 

“When people ask me whether having Luis Figo and David Beckham in the same team means one of them will sit on the bench, then I say that will only happen when one of them is injured or out of form,” Queiroz said. 

Beckham will cost Real 35mil euros if they are successful. 

They are to receive £5.25mil (7.5mil euros) on completion of Beckham's transfer and £12mil (17mil euros) in instalments over next four years.  

A further seven million pounds (10mil euros) will be based on Real's performances in the money-spinning Champions League – £875,000 (1.25mil euros) every year they qualify, £875,000 every year they reach the quarter-finals.  

Beckham will receive the kind of reception and security cover usually reserved for royal or presidential visits when he arrives in Madrid on Tuesday.  

The England captain will be flown into El Torrejon, a military airport once used by the US Airforce, so that he can be met by a car on the runway. He will then be whisked away by police escort to the Bernabeu for his medical. 

Real Madrid used a similar procedure to bring Ronaldo to the club last year. As with the Brazilian striker, Beckham's medical will be filmed by Real Madrid TV and the live rights auctioned off to the highest bidder. 

Japanese television companies are understood to have expressed the most interest.  

Following his medical, Beckham will be presented at the Raimundo Saporta hall, the gymnasium of Madrid's basketball team which has a 5,000-strong capacity, in a ceremony will will take place in Spanish, English and Japanese. – AFP 

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