MADRID, June 14 - David Beckham said on Thursday that Real Madrid's failure
to make him a contract renewal offer was behind his decision to leave the
nine-times European champions and sign for MLS side LA Galaxy.
"I first realised I would be
leaving Real Madrid six months ago in January when I was told my contract
wouldn't be renewed," the 32-year-old former England captain told a news
conference before his final game for the Primera Liga club on Sunday.
Beckham smiles during his news conference at the club's grounds in
Valdebebas, outside Madrid, June 14, 2007. [Reuters]|
"That was the time when I knew I had to decide my future. Leaving a club like
Real Madrid is very difficult but I think my future is bright and it's something
I'm really looking forward to now."
Real have said they were in the process of offering Beckham a new contract
when he decided to sign his $250 million deal with Galaxy, but the former
Manchester United midfielder said the offer had never materialised.
Beckham also said that, contrary to club president Ramon Calderon's recent
statements, he had not been approached by Real to persuade him to stay and
denied there was an escape clause by which he could back out of the Galaxy deal.
"I've had no contact with the president about anything," he said. "The
contract was signed a few months back, everyone knows when I signed it. My last
game will be on Sunday."
"There is no clause with Los Angeles saying it could be changed. I've played
for Real Madrid for four years. It has been an incredible time. Hopefully, it
will end with winning the league. But this is it."
A somewhat nervous-looking and red faced Beckham, who will win his first
title with Real if they beat Real Mallorca at the Bernabeu on Sunday, refrained
from direct criticism of the club.
But he made it clear he believed that his lack of games in the first part of
the season and the decision to ostracise him after the announcement of his
departure to LA were based on club politics rather than his performances on the