Beckham had no options, Real Madrid president says

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MADRID, Spain (AP) – David Beckham was belittled by Real Madrid’s president Tuesday as a Hollywood wannabe spurned by most of the world’s top soccer teams.

Team president Ramon Calderon, in comments expected to further sour relations between Beckham and the Spanish club, said the English midfielder joined the Los Angeles Galaxy because there were no other takers.

“The proof that our technical staff was correct not to retain him has been borne out by every other technical staff in the world not wanting him even though he was out of contract,” the team president said in a speech to university students that was broadcast by Cadena COPE radio station.

He added: “David Beckham is going to be some sort of film actor living in Hollywood.”

Beckham spokesman Simon Oliveira said he would not respond to the comments.

In a statement on its Web site Tuesday, Madrid criticized Cadena COPE for making Calderon’s remarks public.

“Real Madrid wishes to express its surprise and indignation because a journalist from La COPE … has violated the intimacy of a private function which attempted to be academic in its content and nature, and has turned it into an act of disloyalty and disrespect toward the university, the students present and the good faith of the president,” the team said.

The former England captain announced last Thursday he would join the Galaxy in a five-year deal, reportedly worth $250 million, starting in August. Madrid coach Fabio Capello responded two days later by saying Beckham would no longer play for the team now that he has committed to another club, and would only train with teammates. That has left Beckham with the prospect of no competitive soccer for six months. Beckham trained with the team and attended a players’ lunch at a Madrid restaurant Tuesday. He hasn’t won a major trophy since joining the club from Manchester United in 2003.

Beckham’s spokesman said Monday the midfielder hopes to fulfill the remaining 5 months of his contract.

If Major League Soccer were to work out a transfer with Real Madrid – including paying the Spanish team a percentage of Beckham’s $11.3 million salary on top of a transfer fee – the deal would have to be completed before the transfer window on international players closes Jan. 31.

“We would love to have David Beckham at the earliest opportunity, but I’m not holding my breath,” Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas told The Associated Press on Monday. “We have structured everything based upon the assumption that he is going to be available after the season with Real Madrid.”

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