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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Beckham plans farewell
David Beckham
Beckham denied his advisors had sparked the transfer rumours
David Beckham is planning a special tribute to Manchester United's fans once his move to Real Madrid is complete.

Speaking in his first news conference since confirmation of his 25m transfer to The Bernabeu, Beckham said he would not want to leave Old Trafford without thanking the club's fans.

"Once I go to Spain to finalise the move and do my medical, I'm going to do a message for the Manchester United fans," he said.

"They have been a massive part of my life and my career and to just leave without saying anything wouldn't be right."

At the news conference held in Tokyo, Beckham hinted that he was not happy with the way his transfer had been handled.

"Of course I would have been happier if the transfer had been done differently," he said.

I would never think of taking the number seven shirt from Raul
David Beckham

"But I don't want to talk about that side of it. I'm a Real Madrid player now and I'm looking forward to it."

However, Beckham later stressed in a statement that he had no problem with the way the transfer dealings between United and Real were carried out.

"I understand reports are circulating that I was unhappy with some aspects of my transfer from Manchester United," he said.

"That is not the case and I did not mean to give that impression in any way. I have publicly expressed my thanks and appreciation for the way the deal has been done by the club, my advisors and Real Madrid.

"The only thing I was a bit concerned about was the timing - bearing in mind that the Spanish League had not finished."

Real, now two points clear at the top of the Spanish first division with a game left, have been embroiled in a nail-biting battle for the title with Real Sociedad and Deportivo la Coruna.

"I want to apologise to the Real players because all this has not been caused by me and I didn't want it to detract from their last two games of the season," Beckham said,

"They're fighting to win the league and I didn't want anything to upset that. I wish them good luck."

Reports have suggested that Beckham's advisors initiated his departure from Old Trafford by holding secret discussions with Real, but Beckham insisted: "That never went on."

Beckham also strongly denied reports that he had demanded to wear the number seven shirt, currently worn by Spanish striker Raul.

"I would never think of taking that number off Raul," said Beckham.

"He is the king of Real Madrid as far as I'm concerned.

We knew David was excited by the opportunity of playing abroad and felt if we could generate a substantial fee it would support our efforts to strengthen for next season
Peter Kenyon
Man Utd chief exec.

"I haven't discussed the number seven - whatever number they want to give me I'm happy."

Beckham also sent an apology to his new Real team-mates for the timing of his high-profile transfer.

Beckham revealed he had discussed his move to the Spanish giants with England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who had reassured him about his international future.

"I wouldn't have done it if it affected my England career," he said.

"I have spoken to Mr Eriksson about it and he just said to me `Whatever you do, it doesn't matter what club you are playing for, it doesn't affect you being England captain'."

David Beckham
"It's an exciting challenge for me"

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