Football: Beckham Blasted; ENGLAND SPECIAL: Skipper's Former Club Boss Puts Boot in CARLOS QUEIROZ LASHES OUT - He's Always Got an Excuse -He's Not as Professional as Luis Figo -Went Skiing When Real Needed Him

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Byline: EXCLUSIVE paul SMITH

FORMER Real Madrid coach Carlos Queiroz has blasted England captain David Beckham, telling him to stop making excuses for his poor form and look to Real team-mate Luis Figo as an example of true professionalism.

Beckham blamed his disappointing performances at Euro 2004 on the laid-back fitness regime at Real Madrid. And he claimed the poor state of the Estadio da Luz pitch was responsible for his penalty miss in the quarter-final defeat against Portugal.

Queiroz, now back as Manchester United's assistant boss after his disastrous year at Madrid, snapped: "Beckham's declarations don't surprise me at all. He's always got a personal excuse to hand.

"When things didn't go well at the 2002 World Cup, when he failed with England in Portugal - he always had an excuse.

"During the last three weeks of the season Luis Figo was there at every training session giving 100 per cent, but David missed some for various reasons, or sometimes for no reason at all.

"I'm not hurt by what David said, but the reality is there for all to see."

Queiroz, who returned to his former job as assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson following his sacking at Real, also hit out at Beckham for going on holiday after he was banned from the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Monaco in April, a game that saw his side crash out of the competition.

"Figo never went skiing in the winter while his team was playing in the Champions League," said Queiroz. "That's where the difference is.

"In the final analysis, one player comes through right to the end of the season and the other doesn't."

Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who also led Brazil to triumph in the World Cup, said Figo was exhausted at the start of Euro 2004 because he had been carrying the rest of his team-mates at Real.

"He was tired out," said the Brazilian. "He had made a bigger effort than anyone else at Real to help out Carlos Queiroz."

Former club president Lorenzo Sanz, who is standing against Florentino Perez in next weekend's elections for the Real Madrid presidency, also reiterated his belief that Beckham was surplus to requirements at Real.

Sanz said: "I just see no sense in having Beckham because we have got Figo in his position.

"To talk of signing more media-friendly superstars would be crazy. What this club needs is more down-to-earth players to work alongside the big stars."

Sanz also had harsh words for the performances of Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and Raul at the European Championship. …