Beckham 'knighted' despite first Real red card

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The Independent Football

David Beckham, who was sent off on Wednesday night for the first time since joining Real Madrid, was yesterday described by a Spanish newspaper as a "a complete Knight of the British Empire" for intervening to prevent a Valencia player from being given a yellow card.

The England captain was sent off after collecting a second booking three minutes from time in Real Madrid's 3-0 Spanish Cup first-leg win over Valencia at the Bernabeu. Beckham was first cautioned for dissent in the 68th minute before clipping Pablo Aimar's heels. He said later: "I didn't think it was deserved because I was running back and I just clipped his ankle as I ran back with him and the referee decided it was another card. I don't know what the first card was for."

Beckham added: "It's different for English players in Spain. The mentality is different. There are things you can get away with in the Premier League that you can't do here. I wouldn't have got sent off in England, but I have no qualms with the referee. It's his decision."

Yesterday, Beckham was praised for his sportsmanship by the leading sports daily Marca. He had been upended by Carlos Marchena but extended his arms in a plea for forgiveness as the referee was about to caution the Spanish international. "A ball to the wing gave David Beckham the chance to demonstrate he is a complete Knight of the British Empire," the newspaper said.

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