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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 5, 2006

'We want Beckham forever,' says Calderon

LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - Real Madrid want England midfielder David Beckham to stay at the club 'forever', newly-elected president Ramon Calderon said on Wednesday.

'He's very important for us. Very, very important in any sense,' he told Sky Sports News in an interview before Real confirmed that Italian Fabio Capello was returning for a second stint as coach.

'He's a premium player, magnificent. All the supporters here are very much with him and of course he's very important in the commercial area,' added the 55-year-old lawyer.

'I want to have him with us forever, at least the three years I think we have still with him.'

The 31-year-old Beckham, who stood down as England captain on Sunday after his country's defeat in the World Cup quarter-finals by Portugal, joined Real from Manchester United in July 2003 for 24.5 million pounds ($45.23 million).

The new president promised in his election campaign that he would sign Arsenal's Spanish international midfielder Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea's Dutch winger Arjen Robben and AC Milan's Brazilian midfielder Kaka.

He expanded on his ambitions on Wednesday, putting the probability of Fabregas joining Real at 70 percent but recognising that it would be difficult to prise Kaka away from Milan.

'He (Fabregas) wants apparently to come here,' he said. 'We've been talking to him previously and of course we have now to get in touch with Arsenal. They have the last word.

'I know that (former Real player and sporting director Predrag) Mijatovic has been in touch with his (Fabregas's) representatives and he has said he is very much interested in joining us,' he added.

'We can get an agreement, I think that is something we can do. I wouldn't say easily, but we have a good opportunity.'

On Robben, he said Mijatovic had met Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich at the World Cup in Germany and reported back that an agreement was possible in theory.

'I know that he was in touch with the player and it seems that everything will be okay, and the player wants to come here to Real Madrid,' he added.

Calderon said Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy was another option but Capello would have to make the final decision.

Asked whether Brazilian striker Ronaldo would be staying, he replied: 'I can't say anything about that honestly because I have to know what Capello thinks about that.

'From my point of view, he's a magnificent player -- perhaps the best striker in the world -- but it's not my decision. It's something that has to be decided by the coach and lets see what he decides.'

The future of midfielder Robert Carlos was similarly uncertain, with Calderon saying he believed Chelsea had made the Brazilian an offer.

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