There is only one problem with the campaign to bring David Beckham back into the England team: his own form.
At the weekend he was given his first start for a month but only made it to the 67th minute, when he was replaced by Robinho. He has only completed one full game all season, and in seven other matches he has even been a substitute or substituted. The statistics make miserable reading although he has by no means been the worse performer in what has been another dreadful start to the season for Real Madrid.
"Can they play any worse?" asked the headline in Marca after the latest dismal offering. The coach, Fabio Capello, had asked for 50 days' grace when he took over at the start of the season. Saturday's derby against Getafe marked his 50 days - and Real served up their most shocking display so far.
Beckham took his place on the right side of midfield after an absence of 30 days. It was his chance to stake a claim for a place in the team for next week's match with Barcelona.
He started brightly, whipping in a dangerous cross with his first touch that Emerson headed tamely wide, and there were no signs that a month on the bench had affected his fitness. He also worked hard defensively, flying into one superbly timed tackle on Valentin Pachon to clear danger midway through the first half. But with Madrid failing to string two passes together in the middle of the pitch it was hard for him to make an impact.
At the break, one of the central midfielders, Mahamadou Diarra, was taken off and the Italian striker Antonio Cassano, who had laboured to no effect alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy in attack, was also subbed. Raul and Ronaldo were the big-name replacements but they made no difference as Real fell behind to an Alexis Ruano header.
That was the cue for Capello to cut short Beckham's comeback. He made way for Robinho who created Real's only second-half chance, cutting in from the left and playing in Guti who slid in but just failed to get on the end of the pass.
Ronaldo was then sent off for the first time in Spain, talking his way into the notebook of the referee, Gonzalez Vazquez, having already been cautioned. He now misses the match with Barcelona.
Capello angrily cut short his post-match press conference, having stated that Real deserved to lose and had no excuses. Beckham must now wait to see how much of that fury is vented on him. Jose Antonio Reyes should return from injury this week. The bench may once again be beckoning for Beckham.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Mejia, Helguera, Raul Bravo, Roberto Carlos; Emerson, Diarra (Raul 46); Beckham (Robinho 67), Cassano (Ronaldo 46) Guti; Van Nistelrooy.
Getafe (4-2-3-1): Abondanzieri; Cortes, Belenguer, Alexis, Paredes; Casquero, Celstini; Cotelo (Pulido 86), Del Moral, (Alberto 70), Redondo (Licht 77); Pachón.
Referee: B Gonzalez Vazquez.
* Atletico Madrid enjoyed a controversial 2-1 victory at home to Recreativo Huelva after Sergio Aguero scored the winning goal with his hand. The Argentine teenager punched the ball across the line at the far post after Fernando Torres had headed on a corner 12 minutes from time. Both sides ended the game with 10 men, Recreativo losing defender Dani Bautista in the 81st minute. Atletico's full-back Yourkas Seitaridis was dismissed just before the final whistle.Reuse content