Sun, Oct 03, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Beckham to face rivals in Deportivo La Coruna

AP , MADRID, SPAIN

Real Madrid players, from left, Iker Casillas, Ral Bravo, David Beckham, Fernando Morientes and Ral Gonzalez,on the bench before a Premier League match against Espanyol on Sept. 18, at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona.

PHOTO: EPA

Old rivalries will be revisited today when Real Madrid hosts Deportivo La Coruna and midfielder David Beckham has an opportunity to avenge previous encounters with Argentines Lionel Scaloni and Aldo Duscher.

"There's a lot of Argentine players in the Spanish league so I meet with them every week, nearly," Beckham told AP in an interview Friday.

"There's a few of them in the Deportivo team on Sunday, but I haven't thought about it too much."

In April 2002, Duscher broke a bone in Beckham's left foot in Deportivo's Champions League game against Manchester United and almost caused the England captain to miss the 2002 World Cup finals.

Even Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed concern over Beckham's foot on that occasion.

"With Duscher, I spoke with him I a few weeks after I broke my foot and it's not a problem, it's all in the past," Beckham said, adding that he was really looking forward to the clash.

"You live for these great matches and this is one of the biggest," Beckham said.

In December, Beckham and Scaloni clashed during the final minutes of Madrid's 2-1 league victory at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium as the Deportivo midfielder reacted furiously to a foul by the English midfielder.

Beckham offered to shake hands after the match but Scaloni spurned it, telling sports daily As that it would have been insincere to do so.

"The referee asked us to shake hands, but I didn't want to. It didn't seem right as we wanted to kill each other 10 seconds earlier," Scaloni said.

"It seemed false to offer him my hand because we couldn't stand the sight of each other."

Beckham also has bad memories of other Argentine players.

At the 1998 World Cup, Beckham lashed out at midfielder Diego Simeoni and was ejected.

England lost the match on penalties and Beckham was subsequently pilloried by the British press and many English supporters, who blamed him for England's elimination from the tournament.

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