David Beckham made his final Real Madrid appearance on this day 15 years ago.
A pivotal part of the first ‘Galactico’ era at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, the England star completed a big-money move from Manchester United and alongside the likes of Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro and many others represented a vision of glamor and glitz under president Florentino Perez.
Beckham – or Golden Balls as he was affectionately known – arrived in Spain in 2003 and lasted four years before a switch to MLS outfit LA Galaxy. He won La Liga in his final season with Los Blancos – claiming the title on his final appearance in a 3-1 victory against RCD Mallorca in 2007, with Real only beating fierce rivals Barcelona courtesy of their superior head-to-head record.
Mirror Sport takes a look at the team that Beckham lined up alongside that day on the 15th anniversary of the game.
An undisputed Real Madrid icon, Casillas kicked-off his career with the Spanish giants having progressed through the club’s famous La Fabrica youth system. Handed his debut for the club in the 1999/00 season, he remained as a regular until his eventual departure in 2015.
Whilst the Spaniard could have retired having earned an endless list of silverware with Real – including three Champions League – he elected to extend his career with FC Porto. Casillas added a further league title during four seasons in Portugal before a heart attack all-but ended his career.
He retired in 2020 and is now serving as the deputy CEO of the Real Madrid foundation.
A scorer of one of the most iconic goals in history, the Brazilian left-back spent 11 years of his career with Real Madrid having arrived from Inter Milan. Going on to make over 500 outings for the Spanish club, the clash against Mallorca was also his final appearance for the side.
The four-time La Liga champion had further spells with Fenerbahce, Corinthians and Anzhi Makhachkala before retiring – allowing for a brief return in 2015 with Indian outfit Delhi Dynamos.
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Continuing the theme of iconic defenders, former Sevilla man Ramos is arguably the most of them all. Arriving from the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the Spanish international wrote himself into Real Madrid history with his performances for the club.
The now 36-year-old enjoyed a trophy-laden 16-year career with Los Blancos, scoring in the Champions League final victory over fierce rivals Atletico Madrid. He brought to a close his successful career with the Spanish club with a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain last summer but has not been able to contribute as much as he would like due to injury problems.
The only defender to have lifted the Ballon d’Or, Cannavaro came into the season fresh off the back of winning the World Cup with Italy. The center-back played a key role for Real having won La Liga during his first season with the club following his arrival from Juventus.
After three seasons in Spain, he returned to the Italian giants before a brief stint with Al-Ahli in Dubai. Since then, Cannavaro has gone on to earn his managerial stripes – the majority of his appointments having been in the Chinese Super League.
An arrival from Celta Viga in 1999, Spanish international Salgado was another to have played a key role in plenty of success at the Santiago Bernabeu. He eventually ended up winning four La Liga crowns, as well as two Champions League titles.
Unfortunately, by the time Beckham’s final game rolled around against Mallorca, he had already fallen out of contention. He made just 16 appearances in the league for Los Blancos throughout the season and was released just two years later and joined Blackburn Rovers then of the Premier League.
Whilst many of the names on this list enjoyed lengthy careers at the Santiago Bernabeu, the same cannot be said of Brazilian international Emerson. Arriving from Juventus, he went on to make 34 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish giants throughout his solitary season.
Having claimed a winners’ medal, he then shortly returned to Italy with AC Milan before ending his career in his home country with Santos.
Captain of the Mali national team, Diarra arrived at Real Madrid from Lyon ahead of the 2006/07 season to bring added steal to the Spaniard’s midfield. He did that and more having played a key role in the side’s title success.
He was also vital on the last day as with the scores level at 1-1 he nodded home to give Real the lead. Whilst Diarra enjoyed an impressive debut campaign, his contributions dwindled in the following seasons before departing for Monaco.
The midfielder then spent three seasons with Fulham and despite briefly training with Brentford in 2016, did not take to the pitch again.
Making his last appearance for the club against Mallorca, Beckham would eventually be walking away with a La Liga winners’ medal to add to his collection. The England star had already agreed a switch to LA Galaxy.
Despite claiming the title, Becks’ final appearance did not quite go as planned as he was withdrawn midway through the second-half due to injury.
An infamous name having become Manchester City ‘s first signing following their Abu Dhabi takeover, the Brazilian was already two years into his Real Madrid career come this game. Having assembled a respectable goal record in Spain, he then sealed a switch to the Etihad Stadium.
Following an underwhelming spell with City, he went to represent AC Milan, Santos and a number of Turkish clubs before retiring from the game in 2020.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Like Beckham, Dutch striker van Nistelrooy also represented both Man United and Real Madrid in his career. Making the switch in 2006, his record at the Santiago Bernabeu was stunning.
He netted 64 goals in 94 outings for the Spanish giants but saw injuries disrupt his final few seasons with the club. After winning back-to-back titles with Real, he departed for German outfit Hamburg, going on to retire back in Spain with Malaga.
Sticking with the theme of prolific forwards, Raul certainly indicated his eye for goal throughout his career. Having progressed through Real’s academy, he scored 323 goals in 741 appearances.
After injury disrupted his final season, he completed a switch to Bundesliga side Schalke 04 and enjoyed another successful and prolific spell with the German side before then representing Al Sadd and New York Cosmos.
The 102-time Spanish international eventually won six Spanish league titles, three Champions League, as well as a whole host of other trophies.
The substitute goalkeeper on the day, that was a role that he was used to playing having only made 11 appearances for Los Blancos before his departure in 2007. Following stints with Villarreal and Sevilla, he was brought back to the Bernabeu in 2012.
He spent two seasons with the side before going on to represent AC Milan and Espanyol. Lopez remains with the latter to this day having made 38 appearances for the side last season.
Having progressed from Real’s academy, the Spaniard went on to make 167 appearances for the club but his time was already drawing to a close by the end of the 2006/07 season. He was not afforded a single league appearance throughout the campaign and departed for Real Zaragoza.
Having caught the eye in Brazil, Real completed a move for the right-back in 2005 but he never quite managed to establish himself as a first-team player at the club. He was only afforded eight appearances throughout the 2006/07.
The Brazilian then had a journeyman career having played for AS Roma, Villarreal, Sport Recife and Sivasspor.
Signing from Boca Juniors, Gago was another to have scooped a La Liga winners’ medal during his debut campaign with the club. The midfielder enjoyed a further four seasons in Spain before joining Roma on loan.
Further spells with Valencia, Velez Sarsfield and another with former club Boca, he retired in 2021 and is now the manager of Racing Club.
Somewhat of an underrated player during Real’s period of dominance, he kicked off his senior career during the 1995/96 season and went on to play for the club for another 15 years. The 2006/07 title success represented the third of his four league titles and he of course appeared on the final day of the campaign as he replaced Emerson.
Guti eventually left the Bernabeu in 2010 and had a brief spell with Besiktas before drawing to a close his playing career.
Jose Antonio Reyes
The match-winner on the day, the on-loan Arsenal man actually replaced Beckham after the hour mark and went on to score twice to all-but secure the title. He fired home Gonzalo Higuain’s pull-back before curling home a great effort from distance in the closing stages of the match.
His stint with Real came to an end after just a season and then moved to Atletico Madrid before then representing the likes of Benfica, Sevilla, Espanyol, Cordoba, Xinjiang Tianshin and finally Extremadura. Reyes tragically died in 2019 following a car accident.
One of just a handful of players still in action, the Argentina international had only been a Real Madrid player for a matter of months ahead of winning the title. He scored just two goals in his first season at the club but did manage to assist Reyes’ first goal against Mallorca.
A prolific spell at the Bernabeu was followed by an equally impressive stint with Napoli – Higuain winning the Serie A Golden boot in the 2015/16 season. Juventus secured a big money move for his services and despite a relatively respectable record with the Old Lady, he was sent out on two consecutive loan spells with AC Milan and Chelsea.
Now at the age of 34, he remains with MLS outfit Inter Miami.