Football: Beckham Faces Difficult Future
Stone, Simon, The Independent (London, England)
DAVID BECKHAM insists he is still living a dream at Real Madrid even if the long-term fear must be that his move from Manchester United will turn into a nightmare.
The England captain thought there had been a "slight improvement" in his performance against Real Mallorca in Sunday night's 2-1 Spanish Super Cup first leg defeat. The single star he was offered by the majority of an ultra-critical Spanish media backed him up - in contrast to the blanket zero rating which greeted his first match in Spain.
However, the admission of Real's new coach, Carlos Queiroz, that he needed "experience" in central midfield after Mallorca's second goal at the start of the second half was a damning indictment of Beckham's defensive qualities.
What Queiroz failed to explain was why he offered Beckham only one set- piece during the 55 minutes the England captain was on the pitch. The single corner Beckham was entrusted with resulted in Real's only goal, after 19 minutes, Luis Figo taking a far-post delivery down on his chest before lashing a volley into the net.
After that, Figo took all the corners, just as Roberto Carlos took all the free-kicks. Given that Beckham is widely acknowledged to be the best crosser of a ball in the world, it seemed a bizarre decision. …