A new HK sport: waiting for Real Madrid

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2003, 12:00am

Real Madrid are consistent, if not reliable. Judging from the Spanish club's punctuality record, tonight's game against a Hong Kong XI could start anywhere between 8pm, the scheduled kick-off, and midnight.

Having left fans steaming in the sun for over an hour waiting for them to train earlier in the day, Real did the same for the media yesterday by turning up 45 minutes late for a press conference.

Once they were there, perhaps mindful of the public relations disasters that have haunted their tour of Asia, they did their best to turn on the charm, led by their US$40 million new signing David Beckham. 'My perception of Asia is that it's a wonderful place with wonderful countries,'' said the 28-year-old whose transfer from Manchester United has sparked unprecedented interest in the Spanish giants.

'I've been out here four times and every time more people come to see me and to see the team. Every time it gets more exciting. It's a great honour to be here.'

The club's president, Florentino Perez, also offered an olive branch to disgruntled fans.