Beckham finds bench duties 'frustrating'

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The Independent Football

David Beckham has revealed his frustration at being left on the bench for Real Madrid. The 31-year-old midfielder, who has been left out of the England squad since Steve McClaren took over as boss, has found only limited playing time this season.

Beckham, who is in discussions about a new contract at the Bernabeu, made his first start for Real in five games last weekend when he was included in the side to face Getafe.

However, after Real were defeated 1-0 in that match to lose their unbeaten start to the league season, Beckham found himself back on the bench for the midweek Champions League clash with Steaua Bucharest.

"Every day I feel sad and very frustrated as a footballer because I am not playing for my country or for my club," Beckham told the Mail on Sunday.

"Two more years on the bench would be very difficult. At the moment it is very difficult for me not playing."

He added: "I am not even thinking about retiring. When my heart and legs give in then that will be the time, but that is not the case now."

Elsewhere, Angel Arizmendi's 66th-minute goal helped Deportivo La Coruna top Atletico Madrid 1-0 and into second place in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Striker Arizmendi glanced substitute Joan Verdu's floated free kick with a backward header to decide a rugged game of few chances in heavy rain.

Fifth-place Atletico's defeat was its first on the road this season. It was also the team's sixth straight loss at Deportivo's Riazor Stadium, keeping it without a win at the venue since 1995.

In other seventh-round games, Diego Milito netted twice to become the league's top scorer and bring Zaragoza a 2-1 win over Real Betis. Villarreal drew visiting Levante 1-1.

FC Barcelona leads with 16 points, two more than Deportivo. Valencia, Zaragoza, and Atletico are on 13, Sevilla 12 and Real Madrid 11.

On Sunday, powerhouses Madrid and Barcelona clash at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Atletico played without Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez and Bulgaria's Martin Petrov, two attacking midfielders who injured their knees recently and are expected to be sidelined for six months.

The visitors then lost Miguel Angel "Mista" Ferrer to a left thigh injury in the 24th minute. Reports said the striker had torn muscle fibers and would be out for three weeks.

Zaragoza's Milito, whose season tally is seven, seized on a loose ball and shot the opening goal from inside the penalty area in the 13th minute at his team's La Romareda stadium.

The Argentine striker added his second in the 31st after compatriot Pablo Aimar beat two Betis defenders before laying the ball into his path.

Betis' plight appeared to worsen when forward Edu Schmidt was ejected in the 43rd for elbowing Zaragoza right back Juanfran Garcia in the face as the pair jumped for the ball.

However, the visitors staged an improvement and Brazilian striker Robert halved the deficit with a curling shot in the 52nd.

Betis, winless in five games, languishes in 18th place with four points, piling pressure on veteran coach Javier Irureta, who took charge in the offseason.

Levante midfielder Diego Camacho scored in the 48th minute at El Madrigal stadium after receiving the ball from a punch by Villarreal goalkeeper Sebastian Viera.

Teenage substitute Jonathan Pereira fired Villarreal's 66th-minute equalizer just two minutes into his league debut.

Villarreal, for which midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme made his 100th appearance, stayed 10th with nine points. Newly promoted Levante, without a victory in three games, is 12th with eight points.

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