Beckham heads to North America
David Beckham is reported to have stated he is on the move. Sources report the 31 year-old is expected to quit Real Madrid at the end of this season when his current contract expires and join a U.S. club.
Beckham, who moved to Madrid from Manchester United of the EPL, is heading to the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS. He will sign a five year deal with the club said to be worth in the area of $250 million US. Rumours have been rampant as of late over Beckham's final destination, though Los Angeles and the MLS really comes as no surprise.
Beckham stated, "After considering several options to stay in Madrid or join other major British and European teams, I have decided to join LA Galaxy."
He currently has a soccer academy in Carson, California. His wife, Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, is also said to be interested in becoming an actress, and a move to the Los Angeles area supports this.
* Beckham's Statement to the Press
Beckham left Man U for Real Madrid in 2003 in a transfer deal seeing Madrid pay $50 million US. Many remember Euro 2004 where Beckham missed a shoot-out penalty in the quarter-finals, falling to Portugal. In his last international stint, Beckham saw himself red-carded against Austria in World Cup 2006, and the team bowing out in the final-eight. He subsequently relinquished his captaincy.
Beckham has in the recent past, fallen out of favour with the head coaches of Real Madrid, most recently Fabio Capello, being relegated to the bench, and rarely being part of the starting eleven.
"I am proud to have played for two of the biggest clubs in football and I look forward to the new challenge of growing the world's most popular game in a country that is as passionate about its sport as my own," Beckham said today.
Rumours still swirl as to his intentions related to England's national team, after his fall from grace in 2006. He was dropped by current England coach Steve McClaren following the tournament, and has yet to be recalled.
A huge international star, Beckham has yet to gain that kind of acclaim in the U.S. But a move to the MLS will definately help in promoting his brand in North America. His spokesman duties include adidas, pepsi, and his own line of fragrances.
Paving the way for this move, the MLS has recently restructured their salary cap regulations, allowing teams the breadth to finance a 'star player.' No doubt this regulatory change foreshadowed just such a move as Beckham's. The MLS has been putting major emphasis on strengthening the recognition of soccer and the league in North America. Adding a marquee performer such as David Beckham is a quantum leap in making the MLS more recognizable on the international soccer scene.
"David Beckham will have a greater impact on soccer in America than any athlete has ever had on a sport globally," said Timothy J. Leiweke, president & CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, which owns the Galaxy, to CP. "David is truly the only individual that can build the bridge between soccer in America and the rest of the world."
The Galaxy are no strangers to all-star performers. The team already boasts US international phenom Landon Donovan, and is managed by former U.S. mainstay Alexi Lalas.