Beckham to leave Real Madrid for LA Galaxy
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10:41 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10:41 a.m.
LONDON - David Beckham agreed to a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, leaving the Real Madrid club at which he enjoyed worldwide popularity but experienced disappointment on the field.
Beckham, the former English captain who also starred for Manchester United, will join the Galaxy after his contract with Real Madrid expires on June 30. Los Angeles opens its season April 8 in Houston.
"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," he said in a statement released Thursday.
The move was announced following the end of talks on extending the 31-year-old English midfielder's contract with the Spanish club. MLS recently changed its rules on salary caps, clearing the way for Beckham to sign a lucrative deal. British news reports put the Galaxy deal at $250 million.
"This week, Real Madrid asked me to make a decision regarding my future and the offer to extend my contract by a further two seasons," Beckham said in the statement. "After discussing several options with my family and advisers to either stay here at Madrid or join other major British and European clubs, I have decided to join the Los Angeles Galaxy and play in the MLS from August this year."
Beckham has soccer academies in London and Los Angeles. His wife Victoria, a former Spice Girl, was recently photographed househunting in Los Angeles.
"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. "David is truly the only individual that can build the bridge between soccer in America and the rest of the world."
Beckham joined Real Madrid in 2003 after a hugely successful run with Manchester United, where he won six league titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League title. But Beckham did not win a single major trophy with the Spanish club, and his spell coincided with Madrid's worst slump since the early 1950s.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article