'I recognise that this is an amazing opportunity'

A selection of quotes following announcement of David Beckham's $41.35 million transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid.

David Beckham: "I would like to publicly thank Sir Alex Ferguson for making me the player I am today.

"I will always hold precious memories of my time at Manchester United and Old Trafford as well as the players, who I regard as part of my family, and the brilliant fans who have given me so much support over the years and continue to do so.

"I recognise that this is an amazing opportunity for me at this stage in my career and a unique and exciting experience for my family.

"I know that I will always regret it later in life if I had turned down the chance to play at another great club like Real Madrid, which also has world-class players.''

Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager: "I've known David since he was 11 years of age, and it's been a pleasure to see him grow and develop into the player he has become.

"David has been an integral part of all the successes that Manchester United have achieved in the last decade. I would like to wish him and his family every success in the future, and thank him for his service to the club.''

Peter Kenyon, Manchester United chief executive: "While we are sad to see David go after so many great years at Old Trafford, we believe this is a good deal for the club, and we now look forward to building on the success of last season's championship title.''

Vicente Del Bosque, Real Madrid manager: "He is a complete midfield player, an excellent player. He is a soccer player whom it is not possible to limit to just one area of the field.''

Ronaldo, Real Madrid's World Soccer Player of the Year: "David Beckham is a world-class player. I would love to welcome him here. Beckham is someone who has the respect of his fellow players because he has fantastic skill and is a true professional.''

Joan Laporta, Barcelona president who lost his bid to sign Beckham: "Beckham's representatives presented an unscalable wall. Quite sadly, we've been aware of this news since early evening.''