David Beckham
David Beckham made 155 appearances for Real Madrid between 2003 and 2007 Reuters

David Beckham has backed former club Real Madrid to reclaim the La Liga title this season despite their stuttering start to the season. Real boss Rafael Benitez has been criticised over the past week by his own players and the Spanish press for his defensive tactics in the 1-1 draw with local rivals Atletico Madrid on 4 October.

Spanish sports daily Marca reported that Benitez had called for a truce with Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, among others, after they publicly disagreed with the former Liverpool coach's tactics in the aftermath of the Madrid derby. The Santiago Bernabeu outfit sit second in the La Liga table despite drawing three of their seven matches so far, and Beckham expects Real to recover from their early season woes and clinch the La Liga crown this season.

"My money's on Real Madrid alone this season. We're on good form with a good coach and the season is looking interesting, with other good teams up there as well," Beckham was quoted as saying by Marca.

Praise for Ronaldo

Beckham, who made 155 appearances for Real between 2003 and 2007, also spoke about his time at the Bernabeu and explained why he left the club. "Real Madrid will always be in my heart. I had a four-year contract and I'd talked to [Real President] Florentino [Perez] about renewing it for another four years. [But] Florentino left and there was no agreement with the new president. I wanted to stay, but everything changed when Florentino left."

Vladimir Rodic & Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 500th career goal in Real Madrid's 2-0 Champions League win over Malmo Reuters

The former Manchester United star went on to heap praise on Cristiano Ronaldo for equalling Raul's all-time club goalscoring record of 323 goals. "It's incredible what Cristiano has done in his career. For a Real supporter, it's exciting to see what Cristiano does, to see how he plays, to see the passion he brings to his work every day. It's impressive to have watched him outscore my friend Raul so quickly."