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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 07:09 GMT 08:09 UK
Beckham angers Barca
Exclusive by Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

The loss of Beckham is a huge blow to Barca president Joan Laporta
Beckham snubbed the chance to talk to Barca

Barcelona's new vice-president Sandro Rosell has launched a thinly-veiled attack on David Beckham's representatives for refusing to stage transfer talks with the Catalan giants.

Rosell revealed they had spent 10 days attempting to set up a meeting with Beckham's SFX agency after agreeing a 30m deal with Manchester United.

But Beckham snubbed Barcelona to complete a 25m move to fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Rosell admitted Barcelona were "surprised and disappointed" that they failed to get any response from Beckham's advisers to their requests for discussions.

He told the BBC Sport website: "You cannot oblige anybody to make a decision when they are not willing to join a club or come to a city.

"We are not particularly upset he has joined Real Madrid. Once someone says they don't want to join Barcelona we don't care where they go.

We left many messages, but the representatives, for whatever reason, were not interested in talking to us
Barcelona vice-president Sandro Rosell

"The frustration for Barcelona is not having the opportunity to sit down with the player.

"At least then we could have explained our project, the club, the city and our culture, but we didn't have that opportunity.

"We were trying to reach these guys for ten days, six or seven when we were candidates and then when we were official part of the club for three days.

"We left many messages, but the representatives, for whatever reason, were not interested in talking to us."

Rosell added: "It is disappointing and surprising because it is not normal that businessmen like they are supposed to be are not willing to meet with a huge institution like Barcelona Football Club.

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"They have taken a decision to go to Madrid without knowing what we would offer them. If I was them I would be defending the players interests.

"The excuse, or reason, they gave was that David would not come here because we are not playing Champions League football.

"This is very surprising because next season we will hopefully be in the Uefa Cup.

"Real will be in the Champions League, but what about the remaining three years of his contract?

"If Real Madrid are not playing in the Champions League will he want to resign?"

Barcelona are now turning their attention to other targets - but Rosell rejected speculation in Spain that Liverpool's Michael Owen could be on their hit-list.

He said: "Michael Owen will be complicated because he is represented by the same company as David Beckham. It looks like this company doesn't want to talk to Barcelona at all."

Rosell insists Barcelona have already erased Beckham from their thoughts, saying: "We don't care about which club he has joined. We will continue with our project, and we will do this with or without David Beckham."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Barcelona vice-president Sandro Rosell
"We didn't get chance to even talk to David"




VOTE RESULTS
Will David Beckham be a hit at Real Madrid?
Yes
 70.29% 
No
 29.71% 
10068 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


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