Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

(. . . and the Wacky World of the 'Real' Beckham)

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

(. . . and the Wacky World of the 'Real' Beckham)

Article excerpt

Byline: SID LOWE

England's skipper is not the only player whose dress sense and haircuts spark headlines. Guti's flamboyance off the pitch also causes a stir - as did the tale of him and Spain's most famous transsexual. Sid Lowe reports

ONE of the by-products of the recent speculation linking David Beckham with Real Madrid was the sight of the man he might replace quaking in his designer boots.

For, should Beckham join Madrid, the reign of Guti - or Jose Marca Gutierrez Hern[beta]ndez, to give him his full name - would be over: he could hardly remain the 'Spanish Beckham' if the original came riding into town.

Guti is loved, loathed and laughed at more than any other footballer in Spain. He leaves no one indifferent and his relationship with the fans is a curious mix of undying adulation, begrudging admiration, and vicious rejection.

As the 4x4s roll into Madrid's training ground, it's not unusual to see Guti pull up in a Mini Cooper and step out in the latest outrageous - often outrageously camp - fashion, his new hairstyle perfectly coiffured, its highlights gleaming in the sun.

Guti bends it like Beckham. Only more so. While Beckham wears a sarong, Guti stepped out on Saturday night in a shiny pink, intricately embroidered bomber jacket; while English fans sing about the alleged sexual practices of Beckham's wife, their Spanish counterparts go straight for Guti himself; while Beckham's hair changes every few weeks, Guti's seems to be renewed every few days. It's been from slick greasy mop to boy-band blond via everything in between and always stands out - not least when Guti opted for a Mohican, just days after Beckham unveiled his own.

For years there had been speculation about the nature of his relationship with Bibi Fernandez - Spain's most famous transsexual actress. When Bibi was still a man - Monolo Fernandez - the pair shared a flat together and were known to be close mates. Guti is now married with children.

Given the rumours, it is not surprising that Guti has become an easy target for opponents and rival fans. …

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