David Beckham has joined Real Madrid CF from Manchester United FC on a four-year contract for a fee of €35m. Both clubs confirmed on Tuesday evening that a deal had been reached for the transfer of the 28-year-old England captain.
Beckham, who is in the Far East on a promotional tour, is expected to sign for his new club on 2 July after completing a medical. "I recognise that this is an amazing opportunity for me at this stage in my career and a unique and exciting experience for my family," he said. "I know that I will always regret it later in life if I had turned down the chance to play at another great club like Real Madrid, which also has world-class players.
"I would like to thank other clubs who were interested in signing me including [FC] Barcelona and I wish them every success in the future. But I really want to play in the Champions League," Beckham added. "I would like to publicly thank [United manager] Sir Alex Ferguson for making me the player I am today. I will always hold precious memories of my time at Manchester United and Old Trafford as well as the players, who I regard as part of my family, and the brilliant fans who have given me so much support over the years and continue to do so."
Beckham's departure from United, whom he joined as a 14-year-old schoolboy, has long been rumoured and Madrid have beaten off competition for his signature from rivals Barcelona, whose newly elected president Joan Laporta had declared his intention of signing Beckham.
Latest big name
Beckham becomes the latest big-name player to sign for Madrid, following Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo, summer arrivals in 2000, 2001 and 2002 respectively. Beckham also teams up with compatriot Steve McManaman at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium. Beckham played 394 times and scored 85 goals in his Manchester United senior career and won the UEFA Champions League with the club in 1999, as well as six Premiership titles.
Personal terms agreed
A statement on the United website said: "The deal is expected to be completed in July, conditional upon approval by the boards of Manchester United and Real Madrid, and on the provision of satisfactory payment guarantees. David Beckham has agreed personal terms with Real Madrid and expects to sign his new contract with the club on completion."
'Can play everywhere'
Madrid manager Vicente Del Bosque said: "Beckham can play everywhere on the field. Real Madrid have been signing the best players in the world and this year wouldn't be any different. I will try to find him the ideal position to get the best out of him."
'Integral part of our success'
United manager Sir Alex said: "I've known David since he was eleven years of age, and it's been a pleasure to see him grow and develop into the player he has become. David has been an integral part of all the successes that Manchester United have achieved in the last decade. I would like to wish him and his family every success in the future, and thank him for his service to the club."
Terms of agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, €7.5m of the total fee will be paid upon completion of the sale, and €17.5m over the following four years in equal instalments. The remaining €10m is conditional upon Madrid's performances in the Champions League. Under the deal, €1.25m is payable in each of the next four seasons conditional on Madrid qualifying for the Champions League, and a further €1.25m is payable each season conditional on Madrid reaching the quarter-finals of the tournament over the same period. The player himself is expected to earn at least €35m during the course of his stay in the Spanish capital.
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