14 MARCH 2007

As the family prepare to move to Los Angeles, David Beckham has bid an emotional farewell to Old Trafford, the Manchester United stadium where he kicked off his spectacular footballing career.

Accompanied by his wife Victoria, the 31-year-old midfielder received a raptuous reception when he took to the pitch at half-time on Tuesday to make a heartfelt speech. Owing to injury, David was unable to play in the charity match, which pitted the top of the table Manchester United side against a European XI to raise funds for children's charities, but he was certainly the star of the night.

"I have waited four years for this, so just to be here is special," said David, who left the club to join Real Madrid in 2003. "The time I spent at this club was the best time of my football career. The support you've given me throughout my career has been fantastic," he told the fans, adding: "I'd also like to wish this team the best of luck. I am sure they will win many things in the years to come because they have the best manager in the world."

Having waved goodbye to his legions of devoted European fans, David can now look forward to meeting a whole new crowd of football aficionados across the pond. And it seems that preparations are well under way for the family's move to the States, with reports suggesting that they have made an offer on a house in Bel Air. The £10 million mansion, former home of Meg Ryan, has ocean views, seven bedrooms and six bathrooms. The property also boasts a private gym, games room, sauna and large garden, and the Beckhams are said to be happy with the extensive security system which Meg installed.

Bel Air estate agent Joel Cunningham, who reportedly showed Victoria round the luxury home, said: "Mrs Beckham was very impressed with the property overall... and was absolutely smitten with the architecture and garden, which is nearly 100 years old and has flowing vines and willow trees."

"She loved the deck area in the garden too, as it offers a great space for a family to gather and eat breakfast... and the garden has lots of space for the children to run around in," he added.

The Beckhams are expected to hear later this week whether their offer has been accepted.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Evidently delighted to be back at Old Trafford, David was greeted by a standing ovation when he returned to the Manchester stadiumPhoto: © Radial
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The football star shares an intimate moment with Victoria while watching the game from the standsPhoto: © Radial
Photo: © Alphapress.com
This stunning Bel Air mansion, the former home of Hollywood sweetheart Meg Ryan, may soon be the Beckhams' new residencePhoto: © Getty Images
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