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Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
China goes Beckham mad
David Beckham amid tight security and the press
Beckham is the centre of attention

Hundreds of Chinese soccer fans have given David Beckham a superstar's welcome in Kunming, southwestern China, where his new club, Real Madrid, is launching an Asian promotional tour.

The team, packed with multi-millionaire players, was met by colourfully dressed, drum-banging members of Yunnan province's ethnic minorities, together with four elephants.

The Chinese web portal Sina.com, which posted a running commentary on the web covering Real Madrid's arrival, described the scene as chaotic.

Hundreds of people crammed viewpoints around the airport tarmac.

Little Beckham, you're too handsome!
Girl fan

"Those fans who cannot get near to catch a glimpse of the Real Madrid football stars are standing everywhere on the roof, jostling to catch a glimpse of the stylish Real Madrid football stars.

"Although they are very far away and it is very dangerous, they don't hesitate to take this kind of risk," it said.

'Sexy side of football'

"Superstars arrive, fans are jubilant, the media starts 'news war'", the website said. Captivated fans "brimming with excitement" chased after coach taking the team from the airport.

"Today in Kunming, women and football were beautifully blended together. Thanks goes to Real Madrid and thanks goes to the 'adored' Beckham.

Fans surround a bus carrying David Beckham and his new team, Real Madrid
Real Madrid arrive to a raucous welcome
They have shown Chinese football the sexy side of football," the website said.

Another web portal, Sohu.com, said a girl who gave flowers to Beckham screamed "Xiao Bei, ni tai shuai!" -" Little Beckham, you're too handsome!"

The People's Daily quoted 26-year old Deng Fang, a Kunming cheerleader, as saying: "He's so handsome and has so much class and breeding... I'm really sad I didn't get to touch his hand".

Real will spend a week training in Kunming before an exhibition match in Beijing on 2nd August and a series of pre-season friend lies in Japan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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