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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Beckham fever sweeps Madrid press
New Real Madrid player David Beckham
'This boy's as good as new'

Many Madrid-based Spanish newspapers got caught up in their adulation for David Beckham on Wednesday. But in Barcelona it was a very different story.

The Spanish capital was "captivated and practically at a standstill for hours" following the arrival of the "most popular footballer on the planet", El Mundo reports.

It compares Beckham's "stupendous" physique to that of another of Real Madrid's stars, Ronaldo, who, it said, left a "totally different" impression when he arrived at the club almost exactly a year ago.

"Madrid overwhelmed with excitement at the arrival of Beckham and his family", says another Madrid daily, ABC, in its headline.

Beckham's style, warmth and good manners clearly caught the paper's attention and it describes in detail his jeans, jacket and cowboy boots, "all topped off with a toothpaste smile and the exquisiteness of a 'sir'".

'The Beckham hurricane'

"'This boy's as good as new'", ABC exclaims another headline, quoting the doctor who performed Beckham's health check, while yet another article focuses on his wife Victoria and her house-hunting expedition in the capital.

Under the headline "The Beckham hurricane", El Pais gives a blow-by-blow account of the couple's arrival in Madrid, from the time when the "footballer with the brilliance of the stars" touched down at Madrid's Torrejon de Ardoz airport to their meeting with the club's president, Florentino Perez, at the Bernabeu stadium.

And David Beckham himself appears equally excited at the prospect of playing for "Los Blancos". "I just can't wait", he said on stepping out onto the pitch.


"Beckham is 'like a bull'", enthuses La Razon in its headline, echoing the words of the doctor who performed the star's health check.

"The aura that emanates from him leaves the Di Caprios, Ben Afflecks and Matt Damons of this world in the shade", the paper says, adding that not even Brad Pitt has the pull to mobilise quite so many reporters.

The paper also focuses on the good impression left by the British player, quoting the head of the Real Madrid medical services: "He is a player who could appear distant, but we found him to be a very approachable and pleasant person".

Underwhelmed in Barcelona

But some parts of the Spanish press were less impressed.

In Barcelona - whose team had earlier been tipped to sign up Beckham - El Periodico comments: "The show begins. Great fuss about the arrival of Beckham in Madrid".

The Barcelona-based La Vanguardia has four front-page stories, but no room for Beckham, and neither does Avui - although it does carry another football story - "Kluivert will reveal today whether he will continue at Barcelona on a reduced wage".

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.

The BBC's Adam Parsons
"Real Madrid produced a piece of theatre to welcome David Beckham"

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02 Jul 03  |  Football

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