Beckham's Real future remains in the balance

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The Independent Online

David Beckham's future at Real Madrid remains undecided despite the club's president admitting the former England captain would be offered a two-year extension to his current deal.

Beckham could become a free agent at the end of this season. As early as January he would be at liberty to negotiate himself a lucrative swan song away from Madrid and his representatives were quick to dismiss stories in the Spanish press that he had already signed a new deal at the Bernabeu.

The Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon said: "His renewal is agreed. He's happy here and he wants to continue at Real Madrid. It will be a two-year deal."

But when Spanish press interpreted the comments as confirmation that Beckham had already signed, his camp were quick to dismiss the claims.

A spokesman said: "He hasn't signed a new contract but we're due to sit down in September to hold talks. There is intention on both sides to tie David to an extension. Madrid are happy and likewise David has gone on record to say he has enjoyed his time at Madrid."

Beckham's intention to extend his stay in Spain may depend largely on whether or not his new contract grants him a greater share of his image rights, currently split 50-50 with Madrid. Both sides agree on maintaining his current salary estimated at £4m net but commercial add-ons will be a sticking point.

Beckham is expected to be presented with the new offer after Real Madrid have finished their transfer-deadline dealings. Then will come one of the biggest decisions of the former Manchester United midfielder's career: Should he tie himself to Spain until he is 33 or become a free agent?

He may even delay a decision until he sees how life under the new manager, Fabio Capello, pans out. He will hope being somewhat harshly taken off after 75 minutes of Real's dismal opener against Villarreal on Sunday is not a sign of things to come.

Calderon is keen to keep his man and defended himself against claims that Beckham was now a spent force and was being given a new deal because of his commercial power off the pitch. The president said: "The economic side of things is of course important but the most important thing for me is the football."

Real remain desperate to trim their massive squad. The midfielder Thomas Gravesen is considering a move to Celtic, Uruguay international midfielder Pablo Garcia is in talks with Celta Vigo, and the former Champions' League-winning centre-back Ivan Helguera is wanted by Valencia.

Real are also believed to be willing to allow Brazilian pair Julio Baptista and Cicinho to leave. Tottenham's £12m bid for Baptista was turned down only because the player refused to move, and Cicinho is understood to be available for £6m.

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