This day in history of Ronaldo
MADRID, Aug 6 (Reuters) - For the first time since his high-profile move to Real Madrid two months ago it was David Beckham the footballer rather than the global marketing phenomenon that has grabbed the headlines in the Spanish media.
Ever since his 35 million euro ($39.92 million) switch from Manchester United, the focus has been on the commercial reasons behind the England captain's move to the nine-times European champions.
But a fine all-round performance and a superbly executed first goal for his new club in their 3-0 victory over FC Tokyo in the second game of their pre-season tour of the Far East has reminded everyone that Beckham's true talent lies on the football pitch.
"Beckham takes control," was the verdict of Spain's best-selling sports daily Marca on the performance of the former United player, while rival As christened him "Marshal Beckham" for his assured control of the Real midfield in the absence of Zinedine Zidane.
Beckham began Tuesday's game in his usual position on the right flank, but moved infield midway through the first half and turned in an impressive performance in the more central role that many would like to see him occupy for England.
He capped a fine display with what has become his hallmark, a classy goal from a perfectly struck free kick on the edge of the area just before halftime.
But for Beckham's team mates it was the England player's all-round performance that impressed them more than the free kick.
"We all know what he can do from free kicks," defender Michel Salgado told Spanish state television. "But what I liked was the amount of effort he put in throughout the game."
Roberto Carlos said that Beckham showed he would have no problem holding his own alongside the likes of team mates Ronaldo, Zidane, Luis Figo and Raul.
"It's a privilege to play alongside him," the Brazilian defender told Real's website. "For me he's one of the best players around at the moment.
"We have to give him a bit more time, but I am sure he is going to play some great games."
Real president Florentino Perez, the architect of the club's high-profile recruitment policy of recent seasons, seemed relieved that his latest signing had given fans an early taste of his footballing talents.
"Today we saw Beckham the footballer out there," he told reporters. "He did what we were all hoping for and played well on the pitch."
Of course the fact that Beckham produced the goods in front of thousands of devoted Japanese fans will also have brought delight to the club's marketing department as national daily El Pais commented in its write up of the match.
"Beckham's first goal in the Real Madrid shirt was from a free kick in front of the fans that would pay more than anyone else in the world to see him. Everything was so perfect that it looked as though it could all have been staged for an advert."
By Simon Baskett