Madrid:Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello admits he was wrong to drop David Beckham earlier this season.
Capello benched Beckham in January, questioning his motivation, after the England star signed a five-year deal to join the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. But, since being reinstated by Capello, Beckham has played a major role in Madrid's charge toward a possible 30th Spanish league title.
"The truth is with him we were all wrong," Capello said in an interview on Monday with Spanish daily As.
Capello also echoed comments by club president Ramon Calderon that he would like Beckham to stay at Madrid rather than join the Galaxy next month after the Spanish season is over.
"He would be an important player for Madrid, definitely," Capello said. "If the club told me Beckham was staying, I would be happy."
Calderon suggested on Sunday that Beckham had an escape clause in his Galaxy contract that would allow him to stay at the Spanish club. But Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas and Beckham's agent denied that and said Beckham was definitely going to the MLS club.
"It's a shame," Capello said.
Madrid is unbeaten in the 11 games Beckham has played since being reinstated by Capello. The club is in control of the race for the league title after the 2-2 draw at Zaragoza Saturday in which Beckham played despite nursing an ankle injury.
With one game left, Madrid is tied with FC Barcelona with 73 points. Madrid would win its record 30th league title on head-to-head results should they remain tied in the standings.
It would be Beckham's first major trophy won with the club since joining in 2003, the last time Madrid won a major title.
"He's a great player. He's playing like he did at Manchester United," Capello said.