Beckham at 30: 'I've never been happier'

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The Independent Online

The England captain, David Beckham, has shrugged off a new round of allegations about the state of his marriage and made light of the fact he is about to turn 30 by insisting that he has never been happier in his life both on and off the pitch.

The England captain, David Beckham, has shrugged off a new round of allegations about the state of his marriage and made light of the fact he is about to turn 30 by insisting that he has never been happier in his life both on and off the pitch.

"I feel great," the Real Madrid midfielder said. "Over the last month or two months my fitness has been the best it's been for a long, long time, better than at any time since I was at Manchester United.

"I'm happy, not with getting older of course, but it happens to everyone. My wife [Victoria] is 31 and she says I'm still her toy boy, so I look forward to being 30."

But Beckham said that both he and his wife had felt betrayed by the allegations made by their former nanny Abbie Gibson.

"I find it quite amazing and quite unbelievable that people sell things like that," he said. "When you invite people into your home to look after your children - which are the most prized possessions in mine and Victoria's life - you need to be able to trust them."

Beckham and his wife, who gave birth to their third son, Cruz, in February, are suing Gibson, 27, for breach of confidence after failing at the weekend to win a court order banning the News of the World from publishing an interview with her containing allegations about their marriage.

"I can't say too much because there are a lot of legal things going on at the moment," said Beckham, who turns 30 on Monday. "What I will say is that the reason I can keep my mind on football is that me and my wife are happy. We are normal people, although people might not think that. Of course we have arguments like everybody, but at the end of the day I know that I love my wife.

"I've been brought up the right way, to treat women with respect, and if I did not do that my mother would be the first one telling me off. That's why I can get on with my football because we are happy and we love each other."

The Beckhams' relationship came under the microscope last year following allegations that he had had an affair with his former personal assistant Rebecca Loos - a claim he dismissed as "ludicrous".

After a low-key start to the season, Beckham has been in outstanding form for Real Madrid in recent games. He played a pivotal role in Real's 4-2 victory over arch rivals Barcelona earlier this month and was the man of the match in his side's 2-1 comeback victory over Villarreal on Saturday.

Beckham said the new fitness regime introduced by Wanderley Luxemburgo when he took over as coach at the end of last year had been the main reason for his return to form.

"At United it was a much more physical game than here in Spain.

"Since Luxemburgo arrived, he has worked us very, very hard which is good for me and for the team. I'm happy about that and that's a big part of why my fitness levels are so much better."

Beckham said greater stability in his life off the pitch had a positive influence on his game. "The difference is that my family is now very happy in Madrid. I've got a nice house, my children are happy, my wife is very happy."

He also restated his desire to end his career at the Spanish club.

"I've got two years left on my contract and I want to stay at Real until I finish playing. I've played [for] one of the biggest clubs in the world - Manchester United, I've captained my country and played for another of the biggest clubs in the world in Real Madrid.

"It would be a great way to finish my career having done all that."

Beckham made it clear that, although he is now one of the oldest members of the current England squad, he still felt he had a lot to offer.

"I've got a lot of experience and that's what I can bring to the England team. I'm England captain and that's one of the biggest honours for me. I can add that experience to the team as well as my hard work and ability. Although I'm turning 30, I still feel as though I've got quite a few years left in these legs."

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