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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 17, 2007

Capello offers hope to sidelined Beckham

MADRID, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has hinted that he could change his mind about his decision to leave David Beckham on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

'You can't discard anything,' was the Italian's response to a question during a news conference on Wednesday asking if he planned to continue with his policy regarding the former England captain.

'At the moment this is the line we have decided to follow but you have to be flexible.

'He is a great professional and always shows enthusiasm in training. Ideas can be changed, but it will depend on both the player and the coach.'

Capello said last week Beckham would not play for Real again after the midfielder announced he had decided to leave the club and join MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the season.

The coach admitted on Wednesday that he had chosen to put injured Brazilian midfielder Emerson on the bench for last Sunday's 1-0 win over Real Zaragoza rather than use Beckham and said he planned to stick to his policy for the time being.

Beckham was left out of the squad for Thursday's King's Cup last-16 second-leg match at home to Real Betis, together with Ronaldo and Antonio Cassano.

Ronaldo is reported by Spanish media to have agreed personal terms with AC Milan ahead of a possible free transfer to the Serie A side, but Real are thought to be holding out in the hope of receiving a fee for the player.

Capello spent much of the news conference fielding questions about club president Ramon Calderon's outspoken criticisms of the players during a conference at a university on Tuesday in which he accused them of being vain and egotistical.

He said Calderon had met the players for more than an hour after training to explain his comments.

'It was a good meeting, an important one,' he said. 'The club captains will give a news conference about it on Friday. I am sure the players are not happy about some things but they trained brilliantly today. They are professionals.'

Capello also confirmed he had been fined by the club for making rude gestures to two Real Madrid fans after the Zaragoza match, saying he agreed with the sanction.

'It was perfect,' he said. 'When you make a mistake you should be fined.'

Asked if Calderon should also be sanctioned for his remarks, Capello replied: 'The board fined me, we'll have to see if they fine the president too.'

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said later Beckham had agreed to play for a European Union selection against his old club Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 13.

'As it stands this will most likely be his final game before he leaves for the United States and it will, of course, have an extra spice because it is at Old Trafford,' Gaillard said

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