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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Spain's press fixated by Beckham
David Beckham
Beckham's future has been the subject of fevered speculation

The issue of David Beckham's future makes front-page headlines in leading Spanish dailies, as well as creating a splash in the sports press.

All the papers see the affair as a fascinating insight into the murky world of football politics.

Spanish TV also headlined the controversy, saying Beckham would rather play for Real Madrid although Barcelona want him.

ABC newspaper comments on Manchester United's statement that it will accept Barcelona's offer for Beckham provided the political battle to win the club presidency goes in favour of Joan Laporta.

'No done deal'

"As we are here in England, and dealing with the language of business, every word needs to be analysed with great care," the newspaper's British correspondent writes.

"In short, Manchester has announced its willingness to sell Beckham and there's a good chance he will go to Barcelona if Laporta is president. But it is not a done deal."

A headline in Madrid's La Razon proclaims "Beckham - Electoral Capital" referring to the importance for Mr Laporta in bringing the football star to the Nou Camp.

It says the announcement that Manchester United were willing to sell him "gave Joan Laporta a boost in his campaign to win the Barcelona presidency".

And a front page headline in the top football daily Marca screams: "Beckham shuts LaPorta", a play on the Catalan word for "door".

"Beckham is considered an electoral weapon for Laporta", says Marca, adding that Barcelona's offer could be rejected.

"Marca is in a position to able to state categorically that Real Madrid and David Beckham are near to signing a definitive accord," it says.

'Spectacular effort'

Writing in the Barcelona daily Sport, commentator Josep Casanovas compares the Barcelona presidential imbroglio with a football game.

He says that at one time apparently losing the presidential race, Mr Laporta clawed himself back into the game "with a spectacular effort by Beckham".

"The problems now come from Madrid, where they are seeking to torpedo the operation by trying to persuade the player that the Bernabeu is the best option."

"Beckham is taking over the campaign," writes the daily El Pais.

"The name of David Beckham has caused convulsions in the Barcelona election campaign and the world football market."

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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