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FOOTBALL: Beckham plea to Morientes.

Byline: PAUL GIBLIN

DAVID BECKHAM is eager for Liverpool target Fernando Morientes to stay at Real Madrid.

The Spanish striker is wanted by Anfield boss Rafael Benitez, but Liverpool have yet to meet Madrid's asking price and the appointment of new coach Wanderley Luxemburgo has raised new questions over the prospective deal.

Beckham would rather have Morientes as a team-mate than see him move to the Barclays Premiership.

``I think Morientes is a star player and he is very important for the fans, '' said Beckham.

``He was at Monaco last year and now he is back here. I think he should stay here, but that's not up to me or the players. He's a good person and an excellent player. ''

Beckham's own future in Spain has been the subject of much conjecture since former Brazil manager Luxemburgo was appointed to replace Mariano Garcia Remon.

He nevertheless sees himself staying with Madrid on a long-term basis, and is eager to prove his value to the club extends far beyond the marketing millions that Real earn from his presence in the squad.

``The coach is a very impressive person and a good coach, but it is important for us to all work hard, '' said Beckham.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2005
Words:203
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