Beckham, Owen happy to stay with Real Madrid

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.
They practised with their England teammates at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, then attended a news conference in New York City with England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

“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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