David Beckham said he chose Real Madrid above Barcelona because they are in the
David Beckham said he chose Real Madrid above Barcelona because they are in the Champions League. England's Owen Hargreaves, a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich in 2001, agrees with his thinking...
Not many England players know what it is like to play and win a Champions League final.
David Beckham and Gary Neville did it for Manchester United in 1999 but they both missed our last Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia, leaving Owen Hargreaves as the only Champions League winner in the team.
Hargreaves won the biggest prize available in club football with Bayern Munich in 2001 and he clearly thinks Becks is doing the right thing by choosing Real Madrid above Barcelona because they are in the Champions League.
"David Beckham doesn't belong in the Uefa Cup where Barcelona will be next season. He is one of the premier players in Europe," stresses Hargreaves, who impressed after replacing Danny Mills against Slovakia.
"It would have been a shame to see him at Barcelona because they aren't the force they were a few years ago. They have a great history but haven't achieved recently.
"At the moment the best clubs in the world are Manchester United, AC Milan, Real Madrid. If you leave United, the great moves are either Milan or Real. They are the best bets."
Barcelona's new President Juan Laporta agreed a fee for Beckham with United but couldn't persuade the player to join because they finished outside the top four of La Liga this season.
Hargreaves, whose Bayern team will also be in the A-list competition, can understand Beckham's decision.
"Some of the teams in the Champions League are among the strongest in the world, if you look at AC Milan and Real Madrid they are all-star teams," he argues.
"Everyone wants the chance to play in the Champions League. It is the best education to play in 14 or 15 games a season at the highest level. It is excellent preparation for international matches for instance.
"You learn from your team-mates and opponents a lot quicker than somebody just playing in their domestic league."
Owen Hargreaves was talking to Joe Bernstein