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Capello Does U-turn on Beckham Ban
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David Beckham may still play for Real Madrid after manager Fabio Capello softened his stance on the English galactico appearing for the Spanish giants before he leaves for California in June.

Capello had called time on Beckham's Real career at the weekend after the former England captain had signed his $250 million contract with Major League Series club Los Angeles Galaxy. 

But at a press conference on Wednesday the Italian said: "Beckham is a great professional and is still training with a lot of motivation. We can change our opinion."

He added: "We can't rule anything out. We'll have to see. The idea that we had is the one that you know about but one also has to be flexible from time to time."

Those comments were far removed from Capello's assertion last Saturday that: "He's not going to play anymore. He can train but not play. I think you can't play with the same motivation if you have signed for another team."

Beckham, through his public relations representative Simon Oliveira, had expressed his shock at his coach's position.

"As far as David is aware, he has a contract for the remainder of the season and remains dedicated to the club and its supporters," Oliveira said.

Capello also insisted that out-of-favour Brazilian star Ronaldo remained a Real Madrid player despite reports that Italian side AC Milan have made an offer for the striker.

"Regarding Ronaldo, he's training despite a calf problem. He's a Real player. I see him with the Real Madrid jersey," said Capello.

Just as Capello was reopening the Bernabeu door for Beckham on Wednesday the club's president Ramon Calderon was holding a clear-the-air meeting with his players.

The tete-a-tete after training was called after Calderon's verbal onslaught at some of his team to law students on Tuesday was picked up by a Spanish radio journalist.

In particular he had suggested Beckham was heading off to the United States to become a "second rate actor", and that Guti, "at 31 was still a junior", and that in general his team wasn't especially civilised.

He later apologised "a thousand times" for his indiscreet observations on Real Madrid TV.

In a statement Wednesday the club said there was a "mood of complete sincerity and confidence" after the meeting.

It added: "Those players who wanted to gave their reaction to the president's opinion."

And a trio of Real captains - Raul, Guti and Roberto Carlos, are scheduled to talk about the row at a press conference on Friday.

Calderon's criticism follows that last week of sporting director Pedja Mijatovic who intimated that players were turning up to training smelling of alcohol.

This was later strongly denied by Real keeper Iker Casillas.

Beckham, Ronaldo and Antonio Cassano were however noticeable by their absence from Capello's side to face Real Betis in the Spanish Cup on Thursday.

The trio have been omitted due to a "tactical decision," the club announced on its website.

(China Daily via AFP January 19, 2007)

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