DAVID BECKHAM has called for an end to the vilification of Arsenal striker Eduardo.
The two men will be on opposite sides tomorrow when England tackle Croatia looking for the victory that would confirm their place in next summer’s World Cup finals.
But Beckham has found the attention Eduardo has attracted for his dive to win a penalty for the Gunners in their Champions League tie with Celtic distasteful.
And now the 34-year-old feels enough is enough.
“There has been far too much talk about diving,” said Beckham.
“No-one wants to see it and it is disappointing when it happens. But it happens every week and Eduardo is not the first person to have done it.
“The whole thing should be put to bed. Eduardo is a great player. It is not that long ago that he suffered an horrific injury.
“You don’t know what was going through his mind. He might have been trying to get out of the way of a tackle so he didn’t get injured again.”
Fabio Capello has already outlined his distaste for players who cheat, revealing he even admonished members of his own team when he was an international with Italy.
And Beckham confirmed the former AC Milan coach has brought a new discipline to the England scene.
“The manager has high expectations of the players, on and off the pitch,” he said.
“You always have to behave in the right way, whether you are playing or just walking round the hotel.”
Meanwhile, Beckham admitted he will never forget the despair and desolation of 2007 – but he insists revenge is not the prime motivation for beating Croatia.
“Not qualifying for Euro 2008 was disastrous for us,” he said.
“It was one of the most difficult times. When you don’t win a game you should at Wembley and don’t qualify it’s hurtful. In the changing room afterwards, everyone was so upset. We were depressed for a few months and we need to put it right.
“But Wednesday is not about revenge or putting bad memories to rest. Our objective is to reach the World Cup.”
If England can do that and Beckham can retain his place when Capello announces his 23-man squad, the former Manchester United star would be the first man to play in four finals for the Three Lions.
“I have had an incredible career so far,” he reflected.
“I have had ups and downs, played in three World Cups, been captain of my country and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world.
“But if we reach another World Cup and I play some part, it will be up there with all the other achievements I’ve had in my career.”
Nothing can be taken for granted though, especially as his short-term future beyond the current MLS season with Los Angeles Galaxy is still open to debate.
According to the complicated deal he worked out with the Galaxy, Beckham should be joining AC Milan on loan in January.
However, Beckham does have other alternatives, which include a return to the Premier League.
“As everyone is aware, I will finish the MLS season with LA Galaxy – and things have been going pretty well there – after that I need to do what I can to be involved in the rest of the games and, if we qualify, hopefully into the manager’s plans for next year.”
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