Real rule out early exit for Beckham

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid's sporting director, Predrag Mijatovic, has ruled out the possibility of David Beckham making an early exit from the Bernabeu. The former England captain has agreed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy, starting in August, a move which has prompted the Real coach, Fabio Capello, to drop him from the first-team squad.

That has led to speculation that Beckham may be allowed to bring an early end to his Real contract, which is due to expire in the summer, and make an early move to Major League Soccer for the start of its season in April.

Mijatovic is adamant, however, that the 31-year-old will remain in the Spanish capital until La Liga season ends.

"One thing is clear, he [Beckham] still has six months left in his contract," Mijatovic said. "He has to complete his contract."

Despite his stance, Mijatovic admitted Beckham could find playing time hard to come by, with Capello attempting to revamp his squad to give it a more youthful appearance.

"Like many other players who have done important things in this club, he wants to play. But we have promising young players and I think that right now they have an advantage over him [Beckham] because the future of Real Madrid is more important than the players that have been here for many years."

Elsewhere, the Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme's future at Villarreal depends on him toeing the line, the club president Fernando Roig said. "The club have set out some clear parameters which he knows because I have explained them to him. There is nothing more to say," Roig said.

The 28-year-old has been left out of the coach Manuel Pellegrini's past five squads, with reports saying the club are unhappy with the level of commitment from a player afforded many privileges. Roig said: "Roman has told us he wants to stay here. If he wants to, it is up to him. There is no problem between him and the coach - it is the club with whom he has had problems."

Riquelme was Villarreal's top scorer with 12 goals in the league last season. But his club form has dipped this season, scoring just one league goal, and the team have suffered. They are out of Europe and the Spanish Cup and are 11th in La Liga.

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