Lineker issues warning to Becks over future

December 11, 2006

Gary Lineker expects David Beckham to have plenty of options if he decides to leave Real Madrid - but warns that few will match what he has in Spain.

Lineker, who spent three years at Barcelona in the 1980s, has been knocked into second spot by Beckham in the list of most Primera Liga appearances made by an Englishman.

Former England captain Beckham made his 104th appearance in Real's 2-1 defeat at Sevilla on Saturday, but it remains to be seen how many more games the midfielder notches up with the Spanish giants.

The 31-year-old's four-year contract expires next summer and he will be able to negotiate with other clubs in January.

A host of teams have already been linked with the former Manchester United man, but Lineker believes Beckham will struggle to find a destination which can compare with the one he is at now.

'He is an interesting player for many clubs. He knows how to play football and he sells many shirts,' Lineker said in an interview in Spanish newspaper AS.

'To leave Madrid is to take a step backwards, or to the side, but it is almost never a step forward.'

Although he played a full match against Sevilla - and opened the scoring - it was a rare start for Beckham, who this season has more often than not found himself on the bench under new coach Fabio Capello.

He will also miss out on next week's Primera Liga match against Espanyol through suspension after picking up his fifth booking of the campaign against Sevilla.

It is a predicament Lineker can sympathise with, and the one-time ace goalscorer admits it must be a tough situation for Beckham to find himself in.

'When a new coach arrives, you don't know if he will have confidence in you and you suffer from insecurities,' Lineker said.

'It will worry him because it is evident he is enjoying his time in La Liga.'

The former Everton and Tottenham striker added: 'In England we forget that the fans of Madrid respect his effort and his talent.

'Here we like to knock players off their pedestals when they get to the top.

'In any case, he is already in his 30s, when age becomes another consideration.'