In a move aimed at protecting David Beckham from unwanted press attention, Real Madrid blocked the British press from attending Sunday’s press conference following the home defeat to Barcelona.

Real’s policy appears to be to ban sports journalists from newspapers which have circulated stories about Beckham’s private life.

Club director Jorge Valdano defended the policy.

“The other day I read everything that was published about our players. We don’t have any defence against it. It’s a business without any code or law,” he said.

“One way of dealing with it is to punish the press by depriving them of any access even if that penalises their sports pages.”