Your Verdict: Becks' challenge
So Manchester United's calculated public statement that they had agreed a deal with Barcelona for David Beckham had the desired effect of hurrying along Real Madrid's interest.
There was never really a chance that Beckham would join Barcelona, although he did help Joan Laporta win Sunday's presidential elections at the club, and the 28-year-old midfielder always looked destined for either Madrid or Milan.
Real had been conducting unofficial negotiations with Beckham for months prior to sealing the transfer on Tuesday and, despite SFX's media spin, the England skipper was not the hapless victim his agents would like us to believe.
The deal may have been conducted in the press during Beckham's promotional whirlwind tour of the USA and the Far East but the rapid nature of its conclusion during his three day touchdown in England suggests the deal had been finalized for weeks.
And despite the 'piece of meat' allegations from SFX, both sides have benefited from Beckham's transfer to the Bernebau.
United receive £17.5m, rising to £25m with performance related payments, to bolster their Championship winning squad and Real get the Beckham brand and a player with a sweet right foot - who will hopefully put an end to Roberto Carlos' undeserved reputation as a freekick specialist - who will be desperate to quash claims that he has only been signed for his marketing potential.
Beckham, who looked jaded at times for United last term, faces a timely challenge to get a regular starting place in a star studded Real side and has the chance to develop his football by adapting to a new style along side some of the best players in the world.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, whose deteriorating relationship with Beckham has been largely blamed for his departure, made the decision to sell his biggest asset and if United falter next season it could be a decision that comes back to haunt him.
So both Fergie and Beckham now face challenges that should keep them at the top of their game.
But what do you think about the Beckham transfer saga? Was Fergie right to sell? Was Beckham treated badly?
I think Beckham's got a better chance of succeeding at Real than he would have had at Barcelona, but still I doubt that he will stand out in Madrid. Which place in the team will he take? Will he even be able to bench Figo? I doubt it. It feels a bit like he will be the English equivalent to Hidetoshi Nakata, he'll sit on the bench and sell a lot of jerseys in the Asian market.
The transfer fee is reasonable, he's not a player of the same magnitude as Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo. Besides that, if you look at the transfer market at the moment there really isn't that much money out there anymore.
Stefan Andersson, Malmö, Sweden
While Man U and Beckham fans come to terms with his transfer to Real Madrid, much remains to be seen on how Becks can fit into the Real team. £25 million for a 28-year-old player is too good an offer to resist, even if that player is David Beckham.
With the cash generated from Beck's sale, Man U should purchase a goalkeeper to replace the now unreliable Fabian Barthez; a central defender as cover for Wes Brown; a defensive midfielder as cover for Roy Keane; a playmaker to replace Juan Veron who clearly does not fit into the English game and a second striker to support Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
The money men at Manchester United have really made a mess of this one. They've let their biggest asset leave the club to their chief rival in Europe for a fraction of what he's worth.
Beckham is a model professional, uncannily fit, great ability, and perhaps most significantly in this age, the marketing tool that dreams are made of. Sir Alex may well live to regret his decision to throw away the inspirational Beckham, especially at such a low price.
Beckham has been extremely loyal and dedicated, extremely professional and extremely significant in the recent success of Manchester United. So what if he's also a massive celebrity? It has never affected his game.
He is certainly good enough for Real Madrid, and both he and the English national team shall reap the rewards of his further football education in the company of Zidane, Figo and Raul. Indeed, everyone has won from this situation - except Manchester United.
Ian Janes (Perth, Australia)
Man Utd will be better off without the media circus and all that glitz that surrounds Beckham. I admire David's football abilities and what he's done in the past in the team's success but there's no question he got to big for his boots and the gaffer had to get rid of him before his contract expired.
Sir Alex will undoubtedly replace him with outstanding talent and ManUtd will continue it's great winning tradition.
What a coup! This time next year, the Man Utd board will be considering hanging themselves. Man U are going to need to sign serious quality in order to make up for the loses in midfield.
Tactics aside, losing Beckham for the laughable fee of £25m was shocking. No one in the soccer world is as marketable, and the publicity he generates (apparently much to Sir Alex's unhappiness) would have cost Utd many millions over Beckham's career.
Real will make back half their fee in Beckham's first year from plastering his name and face on every item imaginable. Though his marketability justifies the big (but not big enough) fee, his position on the park will be interesting.
Figo, brilliant as he is, has never really shone like he did at Barcelona, and for Real, Beckham's arrival will either inspire Figo to keep his place, or Beckham may relegate one of the world's best to the bench...or another position for a period of time.
Jonathan Michel, Sydney, Australia
All I can say is - who cares? He's overrated and over-exposed. The amount of money involved in the transfer and salary is a colossal waste, and as a supporter of a lower league club, sickens me.
Beckham's transfer fee alone could probably buy the entire bottom two Nationwide leagues. £25m for somebody that can cross a ball, and that's about it? Ridiculous. Football has lost the plot completely.
I was initially surprised at the £25 million fee, but with the market so weak right now it makes sense. Besides, United have to unload Beckham now before he is too old and before he can leave on a free transfer.
The age factor and the looming shadow of a Bosman gave Madrid a comparative advantage in driving down the price. Three years ago he probably would have gone for £50 or even £60 million.
On the field, however, Madrid's acquisition of Beckham makes less sense. Their midfield is already saturated with attacking talent. Zidane and Figo are in place to pull the strings and fill the creative role, and while Makelele is second only to Vieira in providing defensive cover for the back line, he really needs a partner to hold the fort. Beckham is not strong defensively, and the other midfield roles are already taken, so where does he fit in?
At Real Madrid there are only 'star players', and I doubt that David Beckham will be able to claim Luis Figo's spot on the right wing. I regard Luis Figo as a better player, and he cost so much money when Real signed him, that it would be difficult to put him out of the team.
We all know that Beckham isn't all that good in a central midfield role, and as such I believe that he will have a very difficult task if he is to break into the Real Madrid side - after all he is in direct competition with Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane.
All in all I think he is making a big mistake. He will only be mediocre compared to the other players Real already have.
Of course Beckham will be a success at Real Madrid, he will be playing under a modern day coach instead of a over-the-hill Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford. He will also be playing along side world class players like Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Raul and Carlos, who could maximize Beckham's talent.
He was unable to do so while he was at United, where he was stuck with the incompetent Gary Neville and an under-performing Ryan Giggs. Best of luck to Becks in his new team. Looking forward for him to come back and haunt the Reds.
Andrew Leung, Hong Kong
Yet another indication, if one is still needed at this late date, that the administrators that run British Football have always, and will always continue to distrust individual talent. Stan Bowles was never given his rightful due, when the hard working (but less talented) Brian Robson was idolized. Surely you must remember the disdain heaped upon Paul Gascoigne, at his arrival in 1990.
Why must fans of British Football suffer through another generation of automaton, playing joyless football that depends upon team work and physical preparation, over skill? We are so captivated by the skills of the Brazilians, the passion of the Argentinians, the amazing Dutch - but British football is played by teams, not by stars. And there in lies the problem.
So David Beckham joins two Brazilians, a Frenchman, a Camaroonian, a Portuguese, a nearly forgotten Englishman, and a couple of skillful Spaniards. Manchester United will continue to win Premierships. But I suspect David Beckham will hoist the European Cup before Sir Alex does. And fans of British football, who see the game in a more global context, will be the poorer for it.
David Beckham will be back in England in 2 years. He needs a lot of space on the right to be effective. The English style of play afforded him that space. The speedy Spanish left backs have always played him tight, and he will be ineffective with the Spanish style of quick, technical play.
He will warm the bench, getting maybe 20-25 games a season before people realize that he won't work at Real. Anyhow, the first year there, Figo will occupy the right, and Beckham will be forced to watch. I don't think Real are willing to move Figo to central midfield. He has proven ineffective there.
I hope I am wrong, but I dont think I am.
I think David Beckham is a quality football player, amongst the best in the world. With a move to Madrid I don't see how his future playing career can't benefit as he will be surrounded with the likes of Zidane, Figo, Carlos, Ronanldo and so on.
I have been a big fan of David Beckham's since his early days with Manchester United and I have no doubts he will continue to play the entertaining brand of football we have all grown to love and see him display week in, week out.
To be honest, I think Man United have got a raw deal. If they'd received the money up front, that would be something else. But instalments make it harder for them to spread the money around, also given the fact that the deal is for much less than Barca offered.
I guess Becks will take time to settle in, but four months on, we'll see an improved player. Also Madrid get more options from set pieces, which Roberto Carlos wastes. Man Utd's loss is Madrid's gain.
The reason Becks sat the bench at the end of the season is because Fergie had adopted the attacking style of a group of creative midfielders (Giggs, Solskjaer, Scholes, etc) shaped around a bustling van Nistlerooy. Therefore Becks, who cannot create anything other than a cross, was relegated to the bench.
Now at Real, will it be any different? You have the two most creative midfilders in the world (Zidane and Figo) feeding the bustling Raul and the penetrating Ronaldo. Again, where does the swerving cross fit into the mix? On the bench, just like before.