David Beckham has no plans to retire from the game in two years' time, a spokesman for the Real Madrid midfielder said, dismissing comments made by the club's president, Ramon Calderon.
Real and Beckham's representatives are discussing a two-year extension to his current contract, which expires next year. "We are trying to sign a new contract," Calderon said. "I hope we can have him forever - but I'd say it [the contract] is going to be two years."
Calderon then muddied the waters by saying: "As far as I know, he has decided to retire in two years' time. It would be fantastic if he would stay with us for the next two years."
However, Beckham's spokesman said: "Talk of retirement is a complete surprise to us. No one has ever discussed a retirement date. David's only concern is to play for Real Madrid and win things at the club."
Pressed about Beckham's retirement plans, Calderon indicated his view was not based on anything the player had said to him but from "what people said to me."
Whether or not this is the last contract Beckham negotiates, it is possible that for the first time in his career he will have to take a pay cut - possibly depending on a renegotiation of image rights. Real's sporting director, Predrag Mijatovic, was asked if it made sense to increase Beckham's wages. "Who is talking about paying him more?" Mijatovic said. "Maybe he will stay on, earning less."
Beckham's case for an improved deal has not been helped by his run of four games starting on the bench. The Real coach, Fabio Capello, has even stated that he likes having a left-footed player on the right wing because they can "arrive in the box and do damage".
However Mijatovic strongly supported the former England captain. "Capello is counting on him," he said. "He's a great professional and he will contribute a lot more this season than in years past.
"Fabio will use all his players with one lone objective; winning the League," Mijatovic added. "We will do everything possible to make sure [Beckham] stays on. We're counting on him. I have been in contact with his agent and I don't foresee any problems."
Calderon hopes to have Beckham's future sorted out soon. "We hope everything will be all right in the next 15, 20 days to sign a new contract," he said.