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Beckham to join Real Madrid

Beckham
Beckham has been the subject of fevered speculation.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Manchester United have confirmed they have agreed to sell football superstar David Beckham to Real Madrid.

The 35 million euro ($40 million) deal is expected to be completed in July, if approved by the boards of Manchester United and Real Madrid.

In a statement, United said Beckham had agreed personal terms with Real and expected to sign his four-year contract with the club on completion.

The 28-year-old midfielder, who is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, has been the subject of fevered speculation for the last two months.

Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's Web site: "I've known David since he was 11 years of age, and it's been a pleasure to see him grow and develop into the player he has become.

"David has been an integral part of all the successes that Manchester United have achieved in the last decade. I would like to wish him and his family every success in the future, and thank him for his service to the club."

Beckham has been with Manchester United for 13 years and helped the club win six of its eight Premier League titles in the last 11 seasons. He had two years remaining on his contract.

"I will always hold precious memories of my time at Manchester United and Old Trafford as well as the players, who I regard as part of my family, and the brilliant fans who have given me so much support over the years and continue to do so," Beckham said in a statement through his agents, SFX.

News of Beckham's move is a blow for Real's rivals, Barcelona. Beckham was the central figure in Joan Laporta's successful campaign to become the club's president. But Beckham always stressed he was never interested in moving there.

Laporta said earlier Tuesday he hoped to know this week whether soccer star David Beckham would accept his "fantastic offer." (Full story)

But Beckham's advisers said last week that the player felt like a "political pawn" and they had no plans to meet with Laporta.

Beckham is due to arrive in Japan Wednesday for a promotional tour which will also take him to Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand.

Real Madrid, unlike Barcelona, are in the Champions League next season. Real is home to some of the world's most famous players, including Ronaldo and French star Zinedine Zidane.

Under the terms of the agreement, 7.5 million euros of the total fee will be paid upon completion of the sale, and 17.5 million euros over the following four years in equal instalments.

The remaining 10 million euros is conditional upon Real Madrid's performances in the Champions League.


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