He is probably the most recognisable footballer on the planet and David Beckham continues to make the headlines wherever he goes and whatever he does.
At the moment he is on loan with AC Milan. Why has he gone there? Quite simply he is a dedicated footballer who at the age of thirty-three is doing all he can to try to extend his international career.
He joined Milan in a bid to prove his fitness and regain his England place after being told by England manager Fabio Capello that inactivity during the MLS off-season would result in his likely omission from the next squad. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s as simple as that.
Throughout his career he has been loyal to the clubs he has served and he has been a great representative for England. Whether you believe that his international career should be at an end now, as I probably do, or not, it is surely impossible to question his motives.
Beckham has made it very clear that he is with Milan until March when he will return to the LA Galaxy for the MLS season. I do not see why anyone would question whether that will happen or not. Despite that, many people do.
The latest person to have his say about what Beckham does or doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t intend to do is the former general manager of LA Galaxy, Alexi Lalas. This is the man who signed Beckham for the club back in 2007 on a five year contract. He was asked by the BBC if he thought Beckham may stay in Milan and not return to LA. His reply surprised me.
“If I was still at the Galaxy, yes, I’d fear it. He has to do what he feels is appropriate for his career.”
He went on to say,
“I think he wants to do well with the Galaxy but you only have one career.
“The experience he’s going to have at Milan will benefit him individually, how much it benefits the Galaxy and the people that are ultimately paying the majority of his wages remains to be seen.
“He’s back in his comfort zone at AC Milan, playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a tremendous amount of talent around him, with incredible money out there on the field so it must be, in a weird way for him, a relief to get out there.”
It has to be said that the furore and fanfare surrounding BeckhamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s arrival in the MLS has not been matched by his performances on the pitch. He has been severely hampered by injuries in his two seasons at the club and hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really shown the American football fans what he is capable of.
To say Beckham has been uninspiring is something of an understatement and he will surely be determined to put that right before the end of his LA Galaxy contract. You only have to look at his past to see that he always tries to put right what he sees as wrong.
He made a remarkable comeback from being the most hated footballer in England to become a national hero. He did that through hard work, determination, desire and talent.
He became a favourite at Real Madrid after an inauspicious start through the same method. He then forced his way back into the Madrid side after he had apparently been discarded. He then forced his way back into the England side after the same thing had happened.
In all of these cases he managed to achieve what he achieved through loyalty and determination. I have no doubt that he will do everything he can to transform his and the clubs fortunes at LA Galaxy in the remainder of his contracted time at the club.
There is no guarantee he will get regular football at Milan and his reason for going there is obvious for all to see. It is simply to do with his England career. Instead of questioning his motives and his honesty, shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we be applauding the fact that at thirty-three, the richest footballer in the world is prepared to take on a new challenge and test himself to the limit so that he can try to continue to represent his country?
Lalas went on to say that the MLS nor LA Galaxy need David Beckham to succeed.
“Any manager, to a certain extent, wants David Beckham on their team but I also think David Beckham is not bigger than the Galaxy, nor is he bigger than Major League Soccer.
“The Galaxy will go on and do tremendous things, as will Major League Soccer, well beyond David Beckham’s time.
“The Galaxy will survive without David Beckham, whether that is three years from now or three months from now. Either way, they will survive.
I hope he comes back rejuvenated, but I also hope it doesn’t catch up with him in the middle of the season if he does come back to MLS, that’s a danger and that’s something I’d be wary of.”
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t think that Lalas is right. I think the MLS needs David Beckham and I have no doubt that they are going to keep him for the time being.
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