Hargreaves relishing clash with Beckham

February 19, 2007

Owen Hargreaves could lock horns with his 'idol' David Beckham when Bayern Munich take on Real Madrid in the Champions League tomorrow.

Hargreaves was rested from the Bayern side for Saturday's league match at Aachen as he was recovering from the effects of a flu virus, but the midfielder should return to the starting line-up against Real.

And he could come face to face with his former England captain Beckham, who will be hoping to keep his place in the Madrid team despite being sent off in Saturday's goalless draw against Real Betis.

'Beckham has always been an idol of mine, it is an honour to play with him and against him,' said Hargreaves.

'He is a star, the best passer of a ball, and he knows how to produce in the decisive games.

'The Real Madrid team is comprised of very good individual players - Beckham, (Fabio) Cannavaro, (Iker) Casillas - who know how to play very well in decisive games like tomorrow's.'

Beckham's red card against Betis was a setback for the 31-year-old midfielder, who had made a goalscoring return to the team for the previous weekend's clash at Real Sociedad having been overlooked for six matches by coach Fabio Capello.

Beckham is now set to miss this weekend's derby against Atletico Madrid through suspension, so he will be hoping to put on a good performance if he gets the chance against Bayern.

Despite his decision to leave the Spanish giants in the summer, Beckham is still clearly a favourite with the Madrid fans, who applauded him off following his dismissal against Betis.

The former Manchester United man has also impressed Madrid sporting director Predrag Mijatovic with his attitude in training during his exile from the playing squad.

'Beckham was never kept isolated from the team, he simply wasn't counted on in order to give the younger guys playing time,' Mijatovic told Spanish television station Telemadrid.

'But his exemplary behaviour made us reconsider and now he's playing again. He does everything in his willpower to help this team, and we're counting on him until the end of the season.'