It’s a long way from Leytonstone, mate. David Beckham arrived in Spain in the summer of 2003. Joining Real Madrid, the self-proclaimed ‘best team in the world’ he arrived with great expectations. Playing alongside galacticos like Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo and Raul he was hoping to learn a useful language, get a bit of a suntan and add extensively to his trophy collection. Two years on, he’s learnt to tell journalists ‘to go fuck yourselves’ in purest Castellano and is hinting at leaving the country because the paparazzi won’t leave his family alone. ‘‘They’re crossing the line.” The more jaded hacks point to the fact that he has won nothing of note since he arrived. The team of ageing stars are not shining anymore and a major overhaul of players could be the only solution. What better time to leave an ailing giant before he gets asked to by the president?

The 24/7 Valencia ‘interview’ with Beckham took place after the Valencia v Real Madrid match in March 2005. During the match, the more imaginative sections of the crowd questioned his wife’s profession (not music) and his orientation (not rock-climbing). Despite the abuse, he got on with his job but, like the rest of the Real Madrid team, looked tired and they were lucky to get a draw against a re-energised Valencia team.

Post-match, the 24/7 Valencia reporter found Beckham to be very amenable and happy to spend some time with the English Speaking journalists from The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sun and some freebie from around here. Regarding the Premier League, Becks chatted about the ”incredible” Van Nilstenrooy being back at Man Utd was ”a massive boost for the team”. Regarding the Liga and his toll of yellow cards, there was the obligatory “obviously I’m going to be disappointed to be missing the Getafe game”. Yeah, right.

24/7 Valencia chose their moment carefully, allowing those papers with ‘slightly larger’ circulations to get all their questions in first.

Finally, his green eyes swivelled in the direction of our trusty reporter. The ‘interview’ is as follows:

24/7 Valencia: David…One question about food. Which do you prefer? Fish ‘n’ chips or paella?

David Beckham (long pause, eyes caught in the searchlight moment) ‘Uhhh…I like them both!”

So there you have it. Mr Beckham, at heart, is a diplomatic soul. Despite all the pressures and fame, there’s none of the insolence and dismissiveness of hot-heads like Guti or Figo. He happily allowed 24/7 Valencia to take these pictures for the article. Well…he didn’t say no!!!

Just one small point to end. While the boy Becks and his team have grabbed most of the headlines over the last couple of seasons, some little ole’ club on the Mediterranean coast have got on with the job of winning the Spanish League, the U.E.F.A Cup and the Super-Cup. Indeed, they were ranked statistically as ‘Best club team in the World 2004‘ by U.E.F.A.

The name?

Valencia Club de Fútbol.

David Beckham?

Vixca Valencia!

Interview and photos by Will McCarthy
© 24/7Valencia

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24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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