Man United sells Beckham to Real Madrid

Manchester United has confirmed that football star David Beckham has been sold to Real Madrid.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Manchester United has confirmed that football star David Beckham has been sold to Real Madrid. Beckham, who flew to Japan on a promotional tour of Asia for his sponsors, is expected to undergo a medical at Real on July 1. At Manchester United in 2002, Beckham reportedly became the highest paid footballer in England and one of the highest paid in the world. In his new contract he was said to command a staggering £11 million ($18.3 million) a year, to pull on the famous Manchester United jersey, including a cool £20,000 ($33,500) a week just for the right to market his image. Beckham joined Manchester in 1991 and has been one of the team's most loyal players. He helped Manchester United win six of its eight league titles in 11 years and the European Champions Cup in 1999, beating Bayern Munich 2-1. He has inspired hairstyles and fashion, held audiences with political icons and is married to a pop artist – David Beckham is in all respects a superstar. Barcelona's new president Joan Laporta won his seat on Sunday on the back of a promise to buy the Englishman, but will now be an embarrassed man, with Real agreeing to buy Beckham for €35 million or $41.35 million. Barca had offered €50 million. The remaining €10 million ($11.79 million) is conditional on Real Madrid's performances in the European Champions League. Beckham will join an already burgeoning band of superstars, linking up with the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo. The move has already fuelled rumours that Figo will be released. Beckham is expected to earn a basic salary of around €6 million ($7.07 million) a year, not only for his exploits on the pitch, but also for the huge marketing opportunity he provides. Sent off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup as England crashed out of the competition, Beckham became the scapegoat for the national team's failure. His response was to become the best player in England, and arguably Manchester United's most valuable commodity. The media were won over again as Beckham inspired United to an historic treble – Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup, in 1999. Beckham silenced his critics, being voted European football's player of the season along the way. At the World Cup in Japan, despite England's defeat at the hands of eventual World Champions Brazil in the quarterfinals, the tournament was a huge personal success for Beckham. And he looks to build on that success and of course his brand image as he moves to what is probably the best team in the world. (With AP inputs)