David Beckham swears he is back with the Los Angeles Galaxy to help boost football in the United States even though his desire to play for England in the 2010 World Cup might draw him back to Europe.
The 34-year-old midfielder who spent six months on loan to AC Milan this year spoke here on Wednesday ahead of his first match of the season with the Galaxy, which faces Major League Soccer strugglers New York Red Bulls on Thursday.
A whirlwind media blitz to launch his third partial season in a row included Beckham saying he is committed to giving his best for the Galaxy this season and sees no need to apologize to supporters of the MLS club.
“Not at all,” he said. “I’ve been very dedicated to the Galaxy, dedicated to the fans. I’ve always been very positive and very honest with my play here and when I went to Milan I explained to everyone the reason behind me going.
“I always said to the manager and the players that I would be coming back. Maybe one or two didn’t believe me but at the end of the day I’m here, I’m committed to the team and we’ll see what the first game back will be like.
“I don’t feel like I owe an apology, but I don’t know.”
Beckham is expected to buy out his US contract or secure another loan deal for a European club, possibly AC Milan again, once the MLS season ends in November.
But he noted that not even that will assure him a place in England manager Fabio Capello’s squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa.
“The England manager has made it very clear to me I need to be playing at a European level,” Beckham said. “I?ll always regret it if I didn?t do everything to give myself the chance to be involved in that.”
Beckham said he jumped at a chance that any player would have taken when AC Milan came calling.
“I was given to chance to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world,” Beckham said.
“If you ask any player in any league in the world, if they were given the chance to finish the season with one of the biggest clubs in the world, they would have said, ‘Yes.’
“I’m a very honest person. If I didn’t want to be here, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve always been committed to every contract I’ve ever had, and that hasn’t changed.
“If people want to question my commitment and my professionalism, the fact I’m willing to travel thousands of miles to play for my country says it all.”
The Galaxy have missed the playoffs for the past four seasons but at 5-3 with nine drawn are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff hunt. That, not dealmaking for Milan, is what Beckham says is now on his mind.
“I’m not even thinking about that. I’m back with the Galaxy,” Beckham said. “I have to think about the rest of this season and reaching the goal we want to reach which is the playoffs and hopefully further.
“I’ll worry about whatever else happens once the season’s ended but it’s important that people realize I’m here to play for this team.”
Beckham and Landon Donovan, the Galaxy scoring leader with six goals, have talked and eased tensions that were high after excerpts of a new book quoted Donovan ripping Beckham’s effort.
Beckham said Donovan was unprofessional for not talking to him first.
“He apologized for everything that went on and the position we were in,” Beckham said. “We’re both men. We don’t take it onto the field. That’s when it will disrupt us.”
Donovan said he regrets not talking to Beckham first about his complaints.
“He’s a good man and he cares about this team,” Donovan said. “It was a frustrating time last year but we are completely past it this year and I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a lot of fun.”
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