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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Real president forced into Beckham apology

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon has been forced to apologise to David Beckham over comments made about the England captain in the wake of his signing for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Beckham forced Calderon into the climbdown after confronting him about four 'lies' he claimed Real had told - that he had done a deal with Galaxy two months ago, that he had bought a house in LA, that no other clubs were after him and that it was Real who had decided not to extend his contract.

Real captain Raul revealed: 'We met the president to talk about everything that had happened.

'Calderon said sorry and it was a positive meeting in which certain rules were implemented so that this situation does not happen again for the good of the club.

'Everyone came out with a good feeling although some team-mates felt more upset than others.

'The president is the president and can speak when he wants to but his comments caused a sense of unease and were unfortunate.

'What I want as a player and a Madrid fan is to ensure that something similar does not happen again.'

Calderon incurred the wrath of several players, not least Beckham, after suggesting the player was heading to the Galaxy in the summer to become a 'average Hollywood actor'.

Calderon later offered 'a thousand apologies' for his remarks and Beckham's standing at the Bernabeu has improved to such an extent that coach Fabio Capello has also hinted he may not stick to his previous pledge not to play the 31-year-old.

Meanwhile, Beckham is facing resentment from some Galaxy players over his vast new pay deal.

Galaxy midfielder Peter Vagenas, who captained the side to a cup double in 2005, earns £64,000 a year, in stark contrast to Beckham's £25.5million agreed yearly package.

Vagenas told Radio Five Live: 'Of course there is resentment. I think if people said 'no' they would be lying. But a wise man once said `you are worth what you negotiate'.

'On the one hand you would say more power to him but on the other hand you think 'why can't I be earning that'?'

• Meanwhile, Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello on Saturday re-iterated his midweek message that David Beckham's exile from the playing squad may not be permanent.

Capello has not picked Beckham for Madrid's last three matches, and declared last Saturday that the midfielder would not play for the club again following his decision to join the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer.

But on Wednesday Capello hinted the decision was not irreversible, and the Italian repeated that suggestion in Saturday's press conference ahead of Sunday's Primera Liga game at Real Mallorca.

Capello again omitted Beckham from his 19-man squad for the trip to Mallorca, but admitted things may be different in the future, saying: 'We have said that there may be some changes. We have to wait and see. The other day I said there was a possibility, but it depends on many things.'

Even without the highly-publicised events of the last fortnight, Beckham would likely have missed this weekend's match with injury anyway.

The 31-year-old has been unable to train with the rest of the Madrid squad for the last few days because of a thigh problem.

'Beckham is injured. He didn't train today and is out,' Capello said. 'He briefly took the pitch and then withdrew. I'm not a doctor, so I can't comment on his injury.'

Also missing from the Madrid squad to face Mallorca were strike duo Ronaldo and Antonio Cassano, two more players whose futures at the club have been put into question recently.

With regards to Ronaldo, Capello said: 'Ronaldo is still recovering. I still envision him wearing the Real Madrid shirt. Ronaldo has had some problems and is getting better.'

However, the former Juventus boss was keen not to dwell on those players who are not going to be involved on Sunday.

'What is important is that tomorrow we have an important match. We've reached the crucial part of the season. We should be speaking about the game, not other things.

'The group is all that matters.'