David Beckham scores on his La Liga debut for Real Madrid | August 31, 2003

BECKHAM LIFT-OFF: Dream debut as Fergie rift revealed

DAVID BECKHAM made a dream Spanish League debut for Real Madrid last night, scoring after just 126 seconds and helping to set up the winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Real Betis at the Bernabeu, writes Jim Munro, football editor.

“It’s probably the quickest goal I’ve ever scored and it’s nice to do it on the first day of the season,” he said. “If there are doubters out there, it‘s up to me to silence them.” Beckham’s words of delight were in stark contrast to the mood expressed in his new autobiography, serialised in a tabloid today.

He reveals the extent of his rift with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who allegedly gave him the “cold shoulder”, was “disrespectful” about his wife, Victoria, and who questioned his “loyalty” to United after he met the Queen with the rest of the England squad rather than going on holiday.

Last night came the perfect riposte as Beckham got into his stride before the 70,000 crowd had settled into their seats. Ronaldo broke down the left, exchanged passes with Raul and crossed for Beckham to score. On the hour, Beckham began the move that led to the winner, with Zinedine Zidane feeding Ronaldo for a tap-in.

The good form of England’s captain provided relief for coach Sven- Göran Eriksson, who is due to name his squad for the Euro 2004 qualifiers against Macedonia and Liechtenstein this evening. Real Madrid have chartered a private jet to whisk Beckham home after his club’s Primera Liga clash against Villareal on Tuesday night to defuse a potentially damaging club-versus-country row. But there are feuds brewing elsewhere.

Paul Scholes and Darius Vassell have been ruled out by their clubs with probable long-term injuries. Scholes may even miss the potentially decisive final Group Seven game against Turkey in Istanbul in October, due to a hernia problem. Ferguson claimed that Scholes aggravated the injury playing for England against Croatia on August 20. Eriksson responded on Friday that Scholes played only after consultation with staff at Old Trafford.

Ferguson could also withdraw Rio Ferdinand. The England centre-half is said to be suffering from a kidney disorder. Vassell, who played 83 minutes for Aston Villa yesterday, has a long-term pelvic injury and will undergo a medical examination.

See original article on The Sunday Times