£6.7m auction bid for Beckham's Ball of Shame

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The Independent Online

Think David Beckham, and you think Hall of Fame. Or Ball of Shame, if you can ignore its €10m (£6.7m) price tag. It is the ball Mr Beckham blasted into the stands when he missed that crucial first spot-kick in England's Euro 2004 penalty shootout defeat by Portugal on 24 June.

To the multi-tattooed, sarong-wearing, Posh-Spice-wifed, silky-skilled Real Madrid galactico it has symbolised nothing but grief. Yet to the humble, trousered Spanish football fan who caught the thing, it may mean riches beyond his wildest dreams (or six months' pay for the Boy David).

The €10m was bid on an internet auction site. Collectors are now battling for the ultimate memento of an error the much-criticised England captain would rather forget.

The ball was caught by Pablo Carral, a 25-year-old Deportivo Coruna fan, in row Q of the stadium in Lisbon. He done good, you might say.

He decided to put it up for sale on the Spanish site of the internet auctioneers eBay (www.es.ebay.com) after a British newspaper offered to buy it for €18,000.

Then, you might say, he done even better. Embossed with the names of the teams, the date and match venue, the ball went on sale on Monday and hit €10m within 48 hours.

The auction is open until 22 July and eBay says bids can be withdrawn only in special circumstances.

Mr Carral could hardly believe his luck. "The incredible thing was that the ball reached us; we were so far from the goal."