MADRID: England captain David Beckham passed an exhaustive medical at Real Madrid yesterday, effectively sealing his move from Manchester United and making him the latest jewel in the Spanish club’s crown.
“He has passed,” said Alfonso del Corral, the doctor who conducted the medical at a private hospital near Madrid. “There is nothing to stop him playing for Real Madrid.”
The 28-year-old Beckham, joined by his wife Victoria and son Brooklyn, had flown by private jet a few hours earlier to the military airbase of Torrejon near the Spanish capital, where he was met by officials of his new club.
Amid tight security, Beckham was whisked away for a medical exam that lasted a little under two hours and was the last formality to completing his move to the Spanish champions in a deal worth up to 35 million euros (US$40.40 million).
Del Corral noted that the player was still suffering some discomfort in his wrist, following an injury suffered in May this year, but said that would not have any bearing on his ability to play football.
“In our opinion he’s in perfect condition,” Del Corral said. “He’s like new.”
Del Corral explained that the outcome was subject to the results of blood and urine samples and said the player would undergo a second series of tests in Madrid later in July when he reports for the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East.
On a personal level, Del Corral was full of praise for the England midfielder. “He’s pleasant, straightforward and easy to deal with,” Del Corral said.
Beckham, wearing a white jacket and torn blue jeans and with his hair swept back, looked relaxed as he smiled for photographers but said nothing to waiting reporters.
He was driven away from the clinic in a silver Lexus four-wheel-drive vehicle and rejoined his family at his hotel in the Columbus square in the centre of the city.
Beckham, one of the world’s best-known and most marketable footballers, is due to be presented as a Real Madrid player at 1000 GMT today.
He will become the fourth world class player to sign for Real in the past three years, following in the footsteps of Portuguese winger Luis Figo, French midfielder Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
Real have won the European Cup a record nine times and took their total of Spanish league championships to 29 this season.
There was only a lukewarm response from Real Madrid fans on the day of Beckham’s arrival yesterday, though, with about 30 waiting outside the base to greet him in the morning, a handful outside the clinic and between 50 and 100 waiting for a glimpse of Victoria near the hotel.
The security was extremely tight, however, with Beckham’s car escorted by police motorcyclists on the drive from Torrejon to the clinic and the player surrounded by minders throughout the day.
After weeks of speculation, Real did a deal with Manchester United to sign Beckham for a fee of between 25 million and 35 million euros, depending on the Spanish club’s performances in the Champions League over the four seasons of his contract.
In an article on Real Madrid’s website on Tuesday, Roberto Carlos said Beckham was one of the very best players and promised to do “everything necessary for him to adapt to the team quickly and normally”.
The team would now have two good-looking players, he joked. “Until now, I was the only one,” he said.
One of the questions still to be resolved is the shirt number Beckham will wear, with the number four of departing captain and centre-back Fernando Hierro the only free shirt at the moment. The number seven worn by Beckham for both Manchester United and England is held at Real by Raul and is not up for grabs. – Reuters