MADRID, Spain -- David Beckham was belittled by Real Madrid's president Tuesday as a Hollywood movie-star hopeful spurned by most of the world's top soccer teams. Team president Ramon Calderon, in comments expected to further sour relations between Beckham and the Spanish club, said the English midfielder joined the Los Angeles Galaxy because there were no other takers. "The proof that our technical staff was correct not to retain him has been borne out by every other technical staff in the world not wanting him even though he was out of contract," Calderon said in a speech to university students that was broadcast by Cadena COPE radio station on Tuesday. He added: "David Beckham is going to be some sort of film actor living in Hollywood." Beckham spokesman Simon Oliveira said he would not respond to the comments. During his university visit, Calderon also criticized Madrid's players, who he said displayed "egotism and vanity." "They all think they are superstars," he added. Calderon later released a statement apologizing for his remarks. "The first thing is to say I'm sorry, a thousand times sorry, to everyone to whom I have offended. Everything I have done at this club since I arrived at Real Madrid has been for the good of the club and my affection and my defense of the players will always be above anything else," he said on the team's Web site. "During the questions, it is true, I made a series of remarks which could have caused annoyance," he added. In a statement on its Web site earlier Tuesday, Madrid criticized Cadena COPE for making Calderon's comments public. "Real Madrid wishes to express its surprise and indignation because a journalist from La COPE ... has violated the intimacy of a private function which attempted to be academic in its content and nature, and has turned it into an act of disloyalty and disrespect toward the university, the students present and the good faith of the president," the team said. Beckham announced last Thursday he would join the Galaxy in a five-year deal worth millions, starting in August. Madrid coach Fabio Capello responded two days later by saying Beckham would no longer play for the team now that he has committed to another club, and would only be able to train with his teammates. That has left Beckham with the prospect of no competitive soccer for six months. Oliveira said Monday that Beckham hopes to see out the remaining 5 1/2 months of his contract. Spanish media have suggested that Madrid may try to rescind his contract, although Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said the club will wait until August. Beckham, who trained with the team and then attended a players' lunch at a restaurant in Madrid on Tuesday, hasn't won a major trophy since joining the club from Manchester United in 2003.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press