VALENCIA: David Beckham's first appearance for Real Madrid in Spain ended on a damp note on Sunday, as the reigning Spanish champions were held to a goalless draw by Valencia in a pre-season friendly.
Real at least had the satisfaction of taking Valencia's Orange Trophy thanks to a 6-5 victory on penalties but new coach Carlos Queiroz will have concerns after a workmanlike display from his expensively assembled side in a match played two weeks before the start of the new Spanish season.
Real paraded their full complement of “galacticos” against the 2002 title winners but created just a couple of decent chances in a disappointing match.
Beckham, snapped up from Manchester United to join the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo in a dazzling Real line-up, was tidy enough in a wide role on the right but he produced nothing spectacular before making way for Guti after an hour.
Immediately after Beckham's substitution, Valencia's Mestalla stadium was drenched with rain. The unexpected downpour acted as a cue for a more attacking spell but the match soon fizzled out after some poor finishing from both sides.
A match billed as a key test of strength ahead of the new campaign attracted barely 20,000 fans.
The home side's Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar did provide some entertainment with his forceful breaks from midfield, while Zidane showed some deft touches for Real but otherwise there was little of note in attack.
Beckham was limited to some neat passing before diving in to a late challenge on Vicente shortly before half-time, a tackle that brought him a yellow card.
Beckham pulled his shirt out of his shorts in an apparent gesture of frustration at the end of the first half but there was no great improvement after the break and he was substituted to some half-hearted jeers on 60 minutes.
Real's main problem came in midfield, where they clearly missed French international Claude Makelele, who is refusing to train because of the club's unwillingness to offer him an improved contract or grant him a transfer.
Ricardo Oliveira went close with a header for Valencia after five minutes and the home side kept up the pressure with Vicente cracking a shot straight at Iker Casillas.
Real's first attack with any menace came after 20 minutes, when Zidane's reverse pass found Luis Figo running into space on the left, only for the Portuguese winger to misjudge his cross.
On 25 minutes, Casillas had to make a good double-save from Aimar and Vicente but Real came back and should have opened the scoring when Ronaldo tucked a shot a metre wide after a sharp move.
Aimar was the most influential player on the field and his forward run fed Oliveira to smack a shot against the bar, Ruben Baraja just missing with the rebound.
A series of second-half substitutions livened up proceedings and Fabian Canobbio almost snatched a winner for Valencia with a shot that cracked a post from just inside the area. – Reuters