David Beckham was the main attraction again Sunday as Real Madrid went through a light training session ahead of its friendly with J. League club FC Tokyo in front of a near-capacity crowd at Tokyo Dome.
Some 45,000 fans, many of whom were unable to get tickets for Tuesday’s match at National Stadium, which sold out in a matter of hours, paid 3,000 yen (around $25) to cheer, snap and scream Beckham’s every move as he worked out alongside superstar teammates Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo.
The attendance at Tokyo Dome even exceeded the 43,000 that watched the NFL American Bowl between Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets 24 hours earlier and such was the demand for tickets that fans could be seen offering as much as 40,000 yen for tickets to watch the training session.
Earlier in the day, hundreds turned up to welcome Beckham and the team at Narita airport, east of Tokyo, when they arrived for the second leg of their pre-season tour of Asia.
Real, whose popularity has soared in the Far East since the England captain joined for just over $40 million from English Premier League club Manchester United, meets FC Tokyo at National Stadium on Tuesday night.
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