Family helps Beckham decide to stay in Spain

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The Independent Football

David Beckham's recent exhibition of his Spanish language skills was clearly a sign that he had gone native.

David Beckham's recent exhibition of his Spanish language skills was clearly a sign that he had gone native.

And yesterday, the Real Madrid footballer sent off in his last game for calling a match official a hijo de puta ("son of a whore"), said he planned to stay with the club long term.

In a statement which went to painstaking lengths to indicate that the England captain's marital problems were well and truly behind him, he said he had the full support for his decision from his wife, Victoria.

The Beckhams and their two children will be living together full time next season after taking out a new lease on a Spanish property. They said that their older son, Brooklyn, would be enrolling in a local school.

In his statement Beckham said: "I have a long-term commitment to Real and to my life in Spain. I've been here for one season and it feels like the job's not done yet. The support that I have received from the fans has been amazing and I would like to see them repaid with success. Victoria shares my vision of our life here together."

For good measure there was also a quote from Mrs Beckham, stressing they were all set to play happy families in the Spanish sun.

"The time is now right for the children to move to Madrid and we are all looking forward to it enormously. It is a fantastic city with wonderful people and David and I are looking forward to strengthening our links with both. We are all very excited," she said. The statement was intended to end rumours that Beckham was planning to move back to the English Premiership, possibly joining Chelsea. The Spanish club had indicated it would reluctantly accept an offer from Roman Abramovich, but well in excess of the £23.6m it paid for him a year ago.

Despite starting well at Real, the second half of Beckham's season tailed off as he was engulfed by reports that he had had two affairs.

There was a seemingly endless flood of lurid newspaper revelations detailing alleged explicit text messages sent by the star to his former personal assistant, Rebecca Loos. A Malaysian-born model, Sarah Marbeck, then claimed that she too had had an affair with the star.

The Beckhams have dismissed the allegations as "absurd and unsubstantiated".

It is widely thought that Mrs Beckham's decision not to move to Spain was putting pressure on the marriage. She stayed in Hertfordshire with their two young sons.

But Britain's richest sportsman appears to have emerged relatively unscathed from the scandal. His £15m-a-year sponsorship deals with 12 companies are still intact.

His fans will hope that the footballer will now be able to concentrate on his game, with the support of his wife and children at home. More cynical observers will wonder whether the Beckham soap opera merely rolls on.