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Beckham aims to leave Real Madrid as a champion
by Paul Kennedy, June 15th, 2007 7AM



David Beckham will play the final game of his European club career on Sunday when Real Madrid hosts Real Mallorca with the Spanish league title on the line (TV: GolTV, live, 3 pm).

Despite an ankle injury that kept him out practice, Beckham should play in what concludes a four-year career with Real Madrid. A victory would give Real Madrid the title and end a four-year title drought, its longest in more than a half a century.

"I have had an incredible time," said Beckham, who will join the Los Angeles Galaxy in July, "and hopefully I will end with the best ending possible."

Madrid is tied with FC Barcelona with 73 points but will win its record 30th La Liga title based on head-to-head difference if the teams stay tied on points after the final round of games.

Barcelona, which plays last-place Gimnastic Tarragona, needs to do better than Real Madrid in its final game to win its third straight title, while Sevilla, which is two points behind the leaders and also has a shot at its first title since 1946, faces Villarreal, winner of seven games in a row.

Sevilla would be crowned champion if it beat Villarreal, Barcelona lost, and Madrid lost or tied.

In one of the controversial aspects of the season finale, Sevilla will be without Mali star Frederic Kanoute and Brazilian right back Daniel Alves, who are away with their national teams.

With the Spanish season lasting longer than any other major league in Europe, around 30 La Liga players could miss the matches because of call-ups for the Copa America, African Nations Cup qualifiers and the European U-21 championships.

Real Madrid and Barcelona have been using their influence to try and retain leading players. Real had reportedly been successful in their attempts to ensure Brazilian forward Robinho and Mali midfielder Mahamadou Diarra would be available for the game against Mallorca.

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