David Beckham's representatives will begin talks with Real Madrid this week on a contract extension for the former England captain.
Beckham's current deal runs out at the end of this season and it is understood that these will be the first discussions with the club's new regime.
The 31-year-old will be able to talk to other clubs from January and the negotiations are likely to centre on Real's share of Beckham's image rights - they are entitled to 50 per cent under his current contract.
The midfielder earns a reported £4million a year in wages but the fact that he would be available on a Bosman free transfer at the end of the season means his representatives are in a strong position to negotiate good terms for a two-year extension.
Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, who took over the club in July, has been claiming for some time that Beckham is close to signing an extension but this is the first time that any talks have been held.
Calderon is desperate to keep Beckham for his international appeal and while coach Fabio Capello has left him on the bench for the last three matches, he too is keen to hold on to the midfielder.
The Real Madrid president claimed last week on the club's official website: 'Beckham's new contract will be sorted out in the next 15 to 20 days, because the club and coach Fabio Capello are very pleased with him.'
Beckham joined Real Madrid for £25million from Manchester United in 2003, but has yet to win a major trophy at the club. He has said several times he would like to end his career at Real.
• Real Madrid defender Cicinho has undergone surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is expected to be out for six months.
'The operation (on Tuesday) was a success. There is no great rush for him to return but we hope that he will be back playing again in March,' Real doctor Alfonso del Corral was quoted as saying on the club's Web site.
The 26-year-old Brazilian international sustained the injury during Real's 1-0 win away to Real Betis in the Primera Liga on Saturday.