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Real Madrid recalls David Beckham

11 February 2007 at 04:22 | 1755 views

By A.C.Roberts.

Spanish soccer giants, Real Madrid FC, have recalled former Manchester United and England hit man, David Beckham, ostensibly to help their chances of winning the La Liga championship this year.

BBC Sports reported Friday that Real Madrid coach, Fabio Capello, in an apparent U-Turn, has praised Beckham for his “professional behaviour” as he overturned his (Capello’s) own earlier decision to leave Beckham out for the club’s League Championship and Spanish FA Cup (Copa del Rey) campaigns.

Beckham, renowned for his curvy free kicks and play-making, was axed from the super club earlier this year after the England international signed up with Los Angeles Galaxy FC in the USA’s Major League Soccer (MLS), for next season. Beckham still has a few months before his multi-million-dollar contract with the Spanish club expires.

Real Madrid captain, Raul, led a lobby of senior players who came out in support of Beckham in recent weeks, saying he should continue to play until the end of his contract, according to BBC Sports reports. “We doubted he would train with the same enthusiasm, but he has behaved like a great professional,” Coach Capello is quoted to have said. Capello, an Italian, coached AS Roma to take the Serie A title in Italy at the turn of the century/millennium. He however denies bowing to pressure from the other Real Madrid players.

The last time Beckham played for Real was in January, when they lost 2-0 to Deportivo de la Coruna. The star-studded side which fields the likes of Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, both World Cup winning Brazilian internationals, has won only two of the six competitive matches it has played without Beckham. They lost two and tied two, leaving them five points adrift of league leaders, Barcelona. Real Betis also knocked them out of the Spanish Cup race - on the away-goal rule - in the same wave.

Real Madrid hold the record for the most wins in the continent’s biggest club contest; taking the title six consecutive times when UEFA started its European Champions Clubs’ Cup in 1955, and three more times (1997/98, 1999/2000. 2001/02) after the current UEFA Champions League format was introduced in 1992/93.

AC Milan of Italy, with six titles, and then England’s Liverpool FC, with five European Club Championship trophies, follow them. The Reds of England last won it in a dramatic comeback-victory over AC Milan in 2004/05. They erased a 3-0 deficit against favourites, Milan, to take the crown on post-game penalties.

If Capello has backtracked, England;s new Coach, Steve McClaren, must be rethinking a similar decision to cut Beckham off his squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers late last year. Spain beat England 1-0 mid-week in a friendly at Old Trafford in England; ahead of two crucial matches the English face against Israel and Andorra next month.

McClaren’s boys were booed into the dressing room after the match; for having failed to reply to a second-half goal by the visiting Spaniards. Andres Iniesta made the most of a slip in the England defence, barely five minutes after he came in as a substitute.

Yet nothing it seems will bring Beckham back to Europe at the club level, at least not for a while, if his warm reception in America is anything to count on.

”Beckham is global,” one MLS coach, John Ellinger, of Real Salt Lake is quoted to have complimented the 31-year-old Englishman. Freelance writer, Steve Davis, summed it all up on when he wrote, after the Beckham transfer, “The League grew up.”

Beckham is expected to come to Canada later this year when Toronto FC host LA Galaxy.

Photo: David Beckham and his wife Victoria.