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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 July, 2003, 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK
Bore me like Beckham
By Paul Fletcher

David Beckham waves to the crowds in Bangkok
Not normal holiday behaviour
There is nothing more boring this summer than David Beckham's drawn out transfer to Real Madrid.

The news that his medical at Real is being filmed live and sold to the highest bidder should be seen as a sickening example of how football has lost its dignity in pursuit of money.

But the news is not really all that surprising if you think of Beckham as a product, bought to sell replica shirts and open up new markets, as well as score goals and impress on the pitch.

The whole saga started out as an exciting rumour that no one quite dared to believe, but could not resist talking about.

Could the England captain, a Manchester United player since the age of 14, really jettison Old Trafford for the glamour of the Real Madrid All Stars?

Surely not.

Surely Becks, family man and all-round good egg, would patch up his problems with his manager and one-time mentor Sir Alex Ferguson?

Beckham had been linked with Europe's top clubs before but, after protracted negotiations over image rights, signed a new deal at United in May 2002.

And the timing of the rumours about Real, coinciding with the two clubs' Champions League quarter-final tie, hinted at an attempt by the Spaniards to unsettle the player.

But as the season wore on Beckham was cast in the supporting role of substitute for United's crunch games, and the possibility of a move became increasingly real.

It was the story that became a soap opera, with Beckham in the leading role and the media happily providing the coverage.

HAVE YOUR SAY

After months and months of constant front and back page news, the whole story has lost its sheen but shows no sign of going away.

Britain's national newspapers are currently working out how they are going to cover Beckham next season now that he plays his domestic football in Spain.

Three papers have already sent journalists to Madrid on permanent Beckham watch.

For the tabloids Beckham, along with wife Victoria and sons Brooklyn and Romeo, is the biggest story since Princess Diana and they have no intention of giving it up.

Beckham has become a brand and seems happy with the role.

He is a dedicated football player, a worthy captain of the England team and seems a decent human being.

In interviews he seems almost humble, astounded by just how famous he has become.

But Beckham should not be so modest for he has played a full role in the process.

David Beckham on his recent trip to Vietnam
The Beckham brand is huge in Asia

What sort of man spends his precious few weeks of summer holiday on promotional tours to the USA and the Far East?

With a long season followed immediately by Euro 2004, Beckham would have been better served relaxing rather than wandering around stadiums in Asia wearing a replica England shirt with Castrol emblazoned across the front.

But to think like that would be a total failure to grasp Beckham's world.

Eric Cantona recently admitted that his sudden decision to quit football in 1997 was because he did not like the way he had become a marketable product.

Beckham, on the other hand, seems to relish the spotlight and his face undoubtedly sells newspapers, as well as countless other products the player endorses.

His move to Real has taken the obsession with Beckham to a new level, and I will be a happy man when he finally signs his contract in Spain.

The entire Beckham media circus and the huge over exposure it has generated has, in short, put me right off him.

Maybe I can start liking him again when I can just watch him play football.




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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