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Making Sense Of The Beckham-Milan-Galaxy Arrangement

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So…David Beckham will be playing for Milan this season as they stumble towards the finish line hoping that the front two will stumble even more. At this point Milan have more to worry about from the chasing pack with Fiorentina, Genoa and Roma a few points behind with 12 games in hand (Serie A league table). Beckham could be pivotal to Milan’s bid for Champions League football next season, or at least he’ll be pivotal in making up for the lost revenue from Milan’s absence from Champions League football.

He’ll be back in Los Angeles mid summer (after playing in England’s World Cup Qualifiers – assuming he’s picked) and stay there till the end of the MLS season before returning to Milan in November. And if that’s not enough to spin your head, he’ll complete the season with Milan, possibly go to South Africa for the World Cup and return to the Galaxy afterwards.

Pundits (people who *think* they know something because they thought of it in bed the night before) reckon that Beckham will buy out his contract in November at the end of the MLS season and make his move to Milan permanent. Or he’ll buy out the contract at the end of July 10 post-World Cup.

I’m not so sure of that. For starters it’s difficult to see the MLS agreeing to this if they didn’t believe that he wouldn’t go back to the Galaxy post-2010. Beckham in 2010 will be 35, and I don’t care what you say about the Milan lab, he’s not going to be a preferred starter at Milan. On the other hand, at that age with his technical abilities he’d still be a valuable star for the Galaxy.

Look at it this way – he’s won the Champions League with Manchester United, he’s won league titles in Spain and England, and the only feather missing from his cap is success on the international stage. He’s probably not going to win the league with Milan unless they pull off an absolute blinder next season, so the major reason for Beckham to push for playing in Milan (with reports of him taking a pay-cut) is to stay in contention for the World Cup. For a player who had, in his mind, given up on international football under McClaren, this is his one last chance to make his mark on the grand stage.

Beckham’s arrival in the US was greeted with unprecedented hype, but beneath all that was a set of promises made by Beckham to LA Galaxy, to the MLS and to US football. This was a 5-year project to take US football to the next level using the fantastic global brand that is DB. It has been met with a lot of criticism, some of it deserved, but there are still time plenty of time to go, and he’ll have 2 years left on his contract after the World Cup ends.

Will Beckham abandon the US? The consensus seems to be that he’s already done so, and they may well be right. but the reality is that by the end of South Africa 2010 Beckham will be too old to be an effective force in European football. He could retire, or he could go back to the Galaxy as he’s said he would and complete the job he started to do.

Which will it be?

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