Beckham proves his worth to Real Madrid, Capello

Feb 11, 2007 - 7:50 PM MADRID, Spain (Ticker) - Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has changed his tune regarding David Beckham.

Capello had nothing but praise for Beckham after the former England captain marked his return to the squad with a goal at Real Sociedad on Saturday.

The 31-year-old, making his first appearance in six games following his decision to join the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS this summer, fired home a 37th-minute free-kick to get Madrid back on level terms after Mikel Aranburu had given Sociedad an early 1-0 lead.

Ruud van Nistelrooy then sealed a 2-1 win for the Spanish giants early in the second half to end a run of back-to-back defeats.

Capello had earlier suggested Beckham would not play for Madrid again following news of his impending transfer to MLS, but after granting him a starting berth at the Estadio Anoeta, the Italian was not disappointed with what he saw.

"I spoke with Beckham twice last week and only we know what we said to each other," Capello said. "I have always said the same thing in my press conferences. I will repeat it again. Beckham is an intelligent person and he has always displayed a commendable attitude. Over the last few weeks, he has trained well and he played a great match."

Capello had also previously passed comment on Beckham's lack of goals from set pieces, but admitted his contribution against Sociedad proved the turning point.

"Regarding my comment about his free-kick efficiency, I said that he had not scored many set piece goals up to this point," Capello said. "However, today he scored an essential goal for us."

Capello also commended his team's performance as a whole after they battled back from Aranburu's early opener for Sociedad.

"It was a good game. I really liked the spirit," he said. "We started by giving away a goal to Real Sociedad, but I liked the team.

"There was still a lot of time left in the game when they scored. I never lost faith in the players. They reacted perfectly. I thanked them all after the game for their performance."

Van Nistelrooy, once a teammate of Beckham's at Manchester United, was also relieved to get a win and was happy that Beckham played such a pivotal role.

"It was an important game. We started losing and that made things incredibly hard on us, but the team showed true character," Van Nistelrooy said. "Beckham's goal was key in the comeback. I'm very happy for him because he's in the starting 11 and because he scored such an important goal."

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