Beckham employs old friend to become his Man Friday in Madrid

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The Independent Football

He has training schedules to abide by and sponsors' demands to be met. There is time with his beloved family to be treasured and glittering social soirées to attend.

It is a juggling act liable to defeat even the biggest names in world sport. So no wonder David Beckham has decided to appoint one of his oldest friends to act as his "Man Friday" in Madrid.

Terry Byrne is to leave Watford, where he is director of football for the town's First Division football club, to take control of fixing the day-to-day details of Beckham's life and work with Real Madrid. Announcing his move from Vicarage Road, Mr Byrne, who has been a friend of the England captain for years, said the chance to become Beckham's personal manager was too good to turn down.

"I am disappointed that I won't be able to finish the job that I started here. But I am excited about the new project that's come about and I believe it is an offer that was impossible to refuse," he said.

"I've been a kit man, a masseur, a physiotherapist, a general manager and now director of football, I think the knowledge that I've gained from each has been priceless. I think going forward all of these things will now help me to look after somebody who is so big in football."

Although his formal title and official duties are yet to be decided, essentially Mr Byrne will take control of running Footwork Productions, the company through which Beckham's lucrative commercial deals are organised.

Caroline McAteer, the footballer's spokeswoman, said the move followed Beckham's decision to part with SFX, the sports management company with whom he had been long associated and which claims his departure is "subject to legal proceedings". She said: "When David left SFX, he wanted to set up his own office with Footwork and Terry will run that."

Mr Byrne will be responsible for the running of Beckham's diary. That will include ensuring he fulfils his commitments to Real Madrid. He is forbidden from doing anything else on the day of a game or the day before a game, for instance.

And it will mean making sure he is available for the functions demanded by the sponsors who have made the former Manchester United player a multimillionaire.

At the moment, his sponsors are Adidas, Pepsi, Vodafone and Marks & Spencer. All require advertisements to be made and personal appearances. And Beckham also has a range of commercial deals in Japan, where he is enormously popular.

Ms McAteer said: "He's not taking on any more commercial work or any new sponsorship. One of the things he said when he went to Madrid was that he wanted to focus on the football."

Mr Byrne began his working life as a professional on the books of Leyton Orient and Cambridge United, before joining Chelsea as sports masseur and kit manager.

After studying physiotherapy for a couple of years, he worked as physiotherapist at Chelsea before following that club's manager, Gianluca Vialli, to Watford in 2001.

Byrne has travelled with the England team on many occasions and is a friend to many of the top-flight stars.

Beckham will no doubt welcome another friend in the Spanish capital.

He and his wife, Victoria, who have two children, are still hunting for a home in Madrid. The couple were reported this week to have run up a bill of more than £430,000 staying at a five-star hotel while they try to establish their new life.