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Jan, 15, 2007

MLS denies negotiating early Beckham move

LOS ANGELES, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber denied reports on Monday that the league was trying to secure an early release for David Beckham from his Real Madrid contract.

Spanish media had quoted Garber saying Beckham's lawyers were working to get an amicable exit because the league was unable to pay the buy-out clause to bring him to the Los Angeles Galaxy before his contract ends in June.

But Garber said in a statement issued later on Monday: 'David Beckham remains a member of the Real Madrid club until his contract expires (on) June 30'.

'Unless otherwise informed, we are looking forward to welcoming David this summer following the end of his contract with Real Madrid.'

The Spanish reports had quoted Garber saying MLS and the Galaxy were doing everything they could to enable the former England captain to move sooner.

However, Garber added in his statement: 'There have been many recent reports from the news media that have attributed incorrect quotes from my office, including fabricated quotes that were attributed directly to me earlier today.

'I am out of the country in Mexico and have not spoken with any journalists since the afternoon of January 13.'

Beckham has agreed a move to the Galaxy when his Real contract expires. The five-year deal with the MLS side is worth $250 million, the biggest in world sport.

Following the announcement of the move, Real coach Fabio Capello dropped the midfielder from the squad and said he would not play for the Madrid side again.

The Italian said it was not possible to rely on a player who had already committed himself to another club.

The MLS season starts in April.

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