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31 May 2005 10:31
David Beckham and Michael Owen say they intend to stay with Real Madrid next season.
The two stars joined the English national team in the United States on Monday, a day ahead of the exhibition game against Colombia that concludes a two-game tour.
“There’s been a lot of talk about me coming back to England [since] the day I signed for Real Madrid,” Beckham said. “People have said maybe every week that there’s rumours of me coming back, but for me, I’m happy in Real Madrid.
I want to finish my career there, and that’s the end of that.”
The pair arrived in the US on Sunday, a day after Real Madrid finished a disappointing season in which they failed to win any titles.
“You can count on the finger of one hand the amount of players that turn down a move to Real Madrid,” Owen said. “If anyone goes to watch a game at Real Madrid, I’m sure you’ll understand why anyone would sign there. It’s a fantastic team with unbelievable players. The stadium holds about 85 000 people; it’s the most modern and best.
“The training facilities are unbelievable. I would have regretted it all my life if I hadn’t had gone to experience playing in a different country, learning a different language, playing a different kind of football ... many, many different things to make you more round as a person and a player.”
Owen, a 25-year-old forward, transferred to Real Madrid from Liverpool in August. It took a while for him to work his way into the starting line-up, and he scored 13 goals.
Beckham, a 30-year-old midfielder, switched from Manchester United to Real Madrid in July 2003.
Both watched on television last week when Liverpool overcame a three-goal deficit to beat AC Milan on penalty kicks in the final of the European Champions League.
“I was personally proud as an Englishman to see what Liverpool [did], even as a Manchester United fan,” Beckham said. “I think everyone that watched that game probably had goosebumps at the end when they saw Stevie [Gerrard] picking that trophy up.”
Owen called the comeback amazing.
“I think a lot of people who were supporting Liverpool that night were hoping that it wouldn’t be four or five [to nothing] in the second half, let alone to come back and win the cup,” he said. “I don’t think it happens every week; it’s something that happens once in a lifetime, really.”—Sapa-AP
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