Beckham in Seattle

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Thousands of British Columbians are paying big bucks to see their favourite soccer stars play under the full moon tonight in Starbucks City.

Spain's Real Madrid meets Major League Soccer leaders D.C. United at Seattle's Qwest Field in an 8 p.m. kickoff on a temporary natural grass field.

Dubbed FIFA's best club of the 20th century, Real Madrid is a record nine-time European champion.

Brazilian Ronaldo is back in Spain recovering from surgery, but ex-England captain David Beckham, Brazilians Roberto Carlos and Emerson, ex-Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro are among the two-dozen players who made the trip.

Italian captain Cannavaro raised the World Cup trophy a month ago today after beating France in a shootout in Berlin. He joined "Los Galacticos" with Emerson after Torino, Italy's Juventus was punished with demotion from Serie A in the gambling scandal that rocked Italian soccer.

Real Madrid opened training camp July 17 in Austria and continues the pre-season tour Aug. 12 in Utah against Real Salt Lake of MLS. D.C. United is atop the 12-team MLS with a 13-2-6 record. Bolivian forward Jaime Moreno is the second-best scorer in the American premier league's history with 104 goals and wears the Gretzky-like number 99 jersey. He'll be joined by 17-year-old midfield sensation Freddy Adu and Alecko Eskandarian, whose Iranian international father Andranik played for the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos.

Like today's Real Madrid, the Cosmos loaded up on high-priced 1970s World Cup stars like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.

Moreno, Adu and Eskandarian were part of the MLS all-star team that upset England's Chelsea 1-0 Saturday on a goal by Canadian Dwayne De Rosario.

Tickets are $30 US to $125 US plus taxes and service charges.


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