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Bye-Bye, Becks?

So it is looking more and more as though David Beckham will play for AC Milan during the MLS offseason. (Read the full account in The Independent.)

The plan is for Becks to stay in top fitness, contribute at a high level in Serie A and prepare for England duty in World Cup qualifying. (And, while he's at it, sell a few thousand jerseys.) Though he is under contract with MLS for several more seasons, don't you have a gut feeling that the move to Milan will precipitate a full-time return to Europe and end his wild and weird stay in Los Angeles? Just wondering.....

On a side note, the other half of the dynamic duo, Posh, has checked in with this non-footy item.

By Steve Goff  |  October 22, 2008; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Beckham , MLS  
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Comments

Agreed - this may be a pre-cursor to a full-time stint in Serie A. LA Galaxy needs to regain credibility as a mere competitor in the "relatively weak" MLS before claiming they are a crown jewel. Brand Beckham does not benefit from the credibility gap.

Also - even Beck's does not stay in Milan, in the event he contributes on the level of which Real Madrid enjoyed during their late 2007 run, then AC Milan will be hard pressed to let Beckham return before May...

Posted by: Mickey | October 22, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

In jolly old England, it used to be treason to mention the death of the king. At the risk of having my head put on display ... This moves an older player who has shown some recent history of brittlenss and slow healing into a year-round season. Why would anyone think that this would do anything but hasten the end of his career?

Posted by: Cromwell | October 22, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

He might not come back. I won't cry. I'll still "hate" the Galaxy just not as much. it's already not as fun with Lalas and Gullit gone. If Donovan and Beckam go then then busting on LA may go the way of those shoebox-sized mobile phones back in the day...It may just become obsolete. And that would be sad. That would only leave us with Red Bull. Especially since it is rumored that the Philly MLS investment group has run into money problems. The rest of you can learn to "hate" Montreal with me when they save Garber by taking the Philly spot. There is room on the "I can't stand Montreal" bandwagon. You guys might be joining me sooner than you think.

Posted by: yankiboy | October 22, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

So Serie A ends the end of June and you are going to tell me Becks is going to leave AC Milan the last 2 months of the season to go back to the worst team in MLS?

hahahaha

It will be interesting to see who Arena brings in to replace him. Maybe Maradona?

Posted by: Southeasterner | October 22, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Posh, that's right, you are not overtly sexy either....

Learn to whip in precise crosses, and maybe smile once in a while, and we'll talk.

Posted by: 22206 | October 22, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't surprise me one bit. Becks staying at Milan permanently, that would surprise me. He has stated his biggest motive in coming to MLS was to help soccer in this country. He seems like a smart guy and should know that playing for one season and being here for half of another one, isn't all it takes. He needs to be here at least one-two MORE years to really help.

Posted by: kris | October 22, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Cmon Goff, do you really think Milan or anybody else can come up with anything close to the $250M pay plan that Beckham has in place now? Who walks away from that kind of money? And where is AEG in all of this? Why let Beckham go anywhere, just so he can get 10 minutes in as a sub for England? Something smells....seriously.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | October 22, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

GOFF,

Do you have anything on DCU's reaction to that debacle of a game last night? I've been looking for quotes or anything of the sorts and can't find a thing. Any info would be very much appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by: kris | October 22, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Don't think that this is good for LA or MLS. Beckham needs a rest given his age and injury history. This move has injury written all over it. Great for Beckham's England dreams but not for soccer in America.

Posted by: Beckster | October 22, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

@ SDMonkey: I thought about that as well. Now if Beckam can negotiate the promotional part of his AEG deal then he might actually be able to move. But with the change in economics, he had better know what he is doing before he walks away from AEG. He may need to consult with more people than just Simon Cowell, Wil Smith and Kobe on this one (I left Jordan out considering that he isn't doing jack for the Charlotte Bobcats)...

Posted by: yankiboy | October 22, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Serie A is a horrible fit for him. Mids in Italy are expected to run at D and to also work back in support. Long flighted balls are rare and hardly ever work. The D on most teams is also rather hard in the tackle - not something his brittle body needs. This will be the end of his international career and maybe club career, rather than a way to build it back up.

Posted by: Keith in Charlotte | October 22, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry L.A., but my wife has done enough shopping in your city, and she needs a new challenge. And she's right - I am the pretty one.

Posted by: David Beckham | October 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Beckham is making 6.5 million a year in MLS, not 250 million. That inflated figure is the total revenue he could see over several years by being, essentially, an American celebrity.

No word from DCU folks -- they're traveling home today.

Posted by: Goff | October 22, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"Relatively weak" officially becomes the nicest thing an English paper has ever said about MLS ;-)

I think a permanent move to Milan is a loooong shot. I expect to see him back in LA in the spring.

Although, some more wood for the conspiracy fire, Posh is becoming a bit of a force in the fashion world. Milan would be a desired spot for her to pursue work in the field...

Posted by: Kev | October 22, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"Relatively weak" officially becomes the nicest thing an English paper has ever said about MLS ;-)

Posted by: Kev | October 22, 2008 2:40 PM
-------------------------------------------
Well Done Kev.

See y'all Becks has raised the worldwide opinion of MLS afterall...And some of you doubted...Haterz... :D

Posted by: yankiboy | October 22, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Goff!!!

Posted by: kris | October 22, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I hope Gattuso breaks Becks' leg in training...

I will be the first to buy the Adidas 'official replica' rossoneri cast, with a golden '23' painted on the plaster.

Posted by: Erick | October 22, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

GOD PLEASE BE TRUE!!! Goff, please be right that he will not come back.

As a DC United fan that lives in LA and has Galaxy season tickets to support the league, I am counting the hours until he is gone.

I used to be nutral on him but since his diaster/disrespectful display at the Superclassico when he flew home after the Germany v England match last season;he completely lost me. I really just want him GONE!

Posted by: Shannon DCU Fan in LA | October 22, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@Shannon:

"I used to be nutral"...

We really like you even though you bought Galaxy season tickets; your intentions were good. :)

Couldn't the Goats use your support more then God's Gift to American Soccer(LA Galaxay AKA the Cosmos/superteam of the 00's)???

Posted by: yankiboy | October 22, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I will not mourn Beckham's passing from MLS. It's not as much about the league as it is about the Galaxy. The issues that club have a HUGE and his presence does nothing to solve them.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | October 22, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the offside rule...

Weren't you? Anyway...

Tommy Smith doesn't know what he's talking about either. He says Keane is offside because his arm is ahead of the defender. FIFA specifically says that he arm is not to be considered in the offside position determination.

I don't think it's likely that Becks will be back -- especially if Donovan is moving on -- but I think that Ince's comment is worth noting. With the Galaxy, Beckham has been much more involved in pushing the pace and getting into the attack. I think it has made him a better all-around player. Playing for LA has to be frustrating for him, but it has forced him to really bring it. He might just agree...

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 22, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Time for Dawson to get a new jersey.

Uh-oh. You're in trouble boy.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 22, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This moves an older player who has shown some recent history of brittlenss and slow healing into a year-round season. Why would anyone think that this would do anything but hasten the end of his career?

Posted by: Cromwell | October 22, 2008 2:14 PM
---------------------------------------------

I think this just means that a player who has always been famous for his dedication and condition won't have a chance to fall out of shape. Moreover, if he does make the move to Europe, his training schedule will be more inline with World Cup demands -- which is probably still foremost in his mind. That said, I'm sure that he and Posh won't mind being in the fashion capital.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 22, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

GET ME AWAY FROM THESE FREAKIN' SCIENTOLOGISTS!

Posted by: Victoria | October 22, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@Interstate Two Hundred Seventy:

Golazo-azo-azo. A Cheap laugh but clever all the same...

Posted by: yankiboy | October 22, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Beckham maintains better fitness playing in season in our modest league than subbing in Italy. That would suggest he comes back.

Brittleness? I don't think he missed a game this year to injury, did he? Sounds funny too, coming from DC, The Land of The Pulled Hamstring.

The guy lives to play in that England shirt right? Whether it's 10 minutes at a time or whatever, who cares. Tip of the hat to the guy, I think he's hard core all he way.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 22, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

GET ME AWAY FROM THESE FREAKIN' SCIENTOLOGISTS!

Posted by: Victoria | October 22, 2008 3:14 PM
--------------------------------------------

That, too. Well played, madam.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | October 22, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd guess the chances of Beckham leaving the Galaxy before the end of his current contract are about zero.

As Goff wrote, above, he's going to earn about 6.5 million a year to play soccer, but upwards of 250 million over the life of his contract for, essentially, being an "American celebrity." Nice work, if you can get it. Can't see him walking away from that.

And AEG, owners of the Galaxy, have by all accounts been making a bundle off Beckham since he arrived, over and above what their paying him. Can't see them ending the deal either.

What does everyone get out of this deal?

As a first guess, I'd say that Beckham gets to stay in shape - and gets to stay in his national team's plans - by playing with a world-reknowned club in Italy; AC Milan gets to sell a boatload of match tickets and gets a huge amount of media coverage; and AEG likely gets a Milan exhibition match next summer. It would wrap things up nicely if Addidas is Milan's jersey sponsor, as they are the Galaxy's. Hmmmm... I wonder how many replica jersey's one can sell in two months?

Posted by: DCUInWheaton | October 22, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Beckham served his purpose. Raised the profile of the league. Sold a boatload of Herbalife shirts. Put fans in the stands when he bothered to show up. The attendance boost is already waning, I think largely because people would buy tickets and then due to injury or international duty or suspension he didn't play. Or they finally figured out that one player does not a team make. The curiosity factor wears off quickly.

The odd thing to me is that this is being billed as a "free" loan. Shouldn't LA be getting something out of putting their number 1 asset at risk?

He doesn't need any more money. His salary is just a small part of his empire. I'm sure his endorsements are worth even more. A big transfer fee would be good for MLS's bottom line though.

Posted by: Glenn | October 22, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Anybody seen a quote from the Galaxy on this yet?

So far we have Beckham's advisor saying "we're negotiating" and Milan's braintrust saying it's happened, and the LA Times saying the Gals have no comment. Doesn't sound like a done deal yet, considering how fashionable it is in Europe to leak a deal to the press to try to make it happen.

(See Ronaldo/RM last summer for one of a million examples)

Posted by: Chris | October 22, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Apropos of non-sequitur: Anorthosis Famagusta is now my favorite soccer name. Too bad I didn't know of it when my kids were born. It would be a boy's name, right? Anyone speak Cyprussian?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 22, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
What is this TMZ?
He'll be back in MLS. Good move for him to try to keep himself in the national team. Hard worker for sure.

Posted by: dadryan | October 22, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... I wonder how many replica jersey's one can sell in two months?

Posted by: DCUInWheaton | October 22, 2008 3:19 PM

Milan have sold 18,000 Ronaldinho shirts in 3 months. Wonder if he'll beat that?

http://www.footballshirtculture.com/200810211897/fans/18000-ronaldinho-shirts-sold.html

Posted by: Kev | October 22, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

writing is on the wall he's gone

Posted by: Alex | October 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Becks is gone. I am a big fan of him - behind the glamour is a lot of grit and a ferocious work ethic - but the LA experiment has not worked, for him, the team or the league. Yes, he helped sell out a ton of road matches but LA never got a sniff of the playoffs and that meant no reason for the LA market to tune in to ABC on a Sunday afternoon in November.

The Galaxy are a dysfunctional franchise with major issues. The best thing they can do is let ACM buy the loan in the spring, if not before then. The sooner Milan does, the sooner the Galaxy can start what will be a very long and painful rebuilding process.

Posted by: he's a goner | October 22, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Put fans in the stands when he bothered to show up. The attendance boost is already waning, I think largely because people would buy tickets and then due to injury or international duty or suspension he didn't play."

IIRC, he only didn't show this year because of international commitments. So if you bought a ticket for a game when there's a chance he's off to Europe, that's on the buyer - or MLS for its scheduling.

Posted by: RK | October 22, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see why...

a) Beckham would want to leave permanently when so much has been put in to his move to the US.
b) Why Milan would want him with a fee involved. He is under contract.
c) What on earth would MLS come up with as said fee.
d) Why people are jumping to conclusions from a loan deal. So few loans become permanent - and I don't know why more MLS players don't go out during the winter. Beckham trained with Arsenal last winter - he didn't leave then.
e) If LA does lose Donovan, isn't that all the more reason for them to make sure Beckham comes back (using that Donovan cap money to rebuild)?

Posted by: Kev | October 22, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Beck-ham?

Posted by: Section 130 | October 22, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Has everyone forgotten about Becks option to buy a franchise buried in his contract? Dude's just playing his hand, and playing it well.

Posted by: dadryan | October 22, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm a fan of Beck's; the guy works hard and minds his P's and Q's, but I don't see him walking into AC's lineup on a permanent basis. Super sub, to be sure.

He'll represent well and be back in the spring. Not before making some headlines and fanning the flames of speculation, however. That's the M.O.

Posted by: JkR | October 22, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

His move away from MLS couldn't come soon enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Beckham will be back. He didn't come here for just 14 months.

I really hope he comes back at least. Nothing is better than seeing United woop the Galaxy in front of 45,000.

Posted by: DCUMD | October 22, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't be so sure Beckham is going anywhere. The Galaxy does not want to wait until June until he can rejoin them, so they're not going to be very open to the idea of a loan agreement. They've invested too much money into this plan to let it unravel, although with Leiweke in charge, unraveling is always a possibility.

If the loan does go through, then perhaps thats it for beckham in MLS. But the odds of a loan are not nearly as good as speculators in England and Italy believe.

Posted by: Troy | October 22, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Como se dice, "Bend it Like Beckham" en Italiano?

Posted by: Joe Doc | October 22, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"Don't be so sure Beckham is going anywhere. The Galaxy does not want to wait until June until he can rejoin them, so they're not going to be very open to the idea of a loan agreement."

The loan is not necessarily going to last for the remainder of the Italian season...

http://www.clubcall.com/intl-football/beckham-set-milan-loan-802974.html

Galliani told the BBC: "Beckham has chosen Milan. He'll stay here in Milan on loan for a few months. Our squad is ultra-competitive and it will remain this way but Beckham is something different and intriguing."

Could only last from January through March

Posted by: Kev | October 22, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Pop quiz:
1. What price is LA willing to put on his contract?

2. Is AC Milan ready to pay that for a 33 year old midfielder given their current line-up?

A: (1) A whole lot. (2) No.

He'll sell a few AC jerseys, see some time in Serie A, CL, and whatever they call the Italian Cup. Then he'll be back here for the 2009 MLS season. LA will probably re-design their jerseys so that the masses will buy more #23s.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 22, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It is the end of the world.

Guns N Roses released a new song.

Posted by: RK | October 22, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey just a reminder to the folks with ESPN Classic that there's a EuroChamps league wrap up show @7. Wish I had Classic luckily I think that's when Entertainment tonights on right?

Posted by: dadryan | October 22, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@JkR:
right on bro. I mean, he'll see minutes for sure. But he's not stealing anybody's starting spot. I take this simply at face value. They'll use him as a high class sub to spell their regulars and try to pace themselves through what could be a special campaign.

Posted by: Matte | October 22, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Several overseas newspapers I've read claim he can't wait to leave and wants nothing more than to leave MLS. Probably complete BS but still doesn't help the credibility and image of the league.

I really wish they would have forgotten about Posh boy and instead threw the bank at Zidane.

Posted by: Thora | October 22, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

PS - I know they offered him a contract but he declined because apparently he wanted too much money. Of course he wanted more money they were offering peanuts compared to what Posh boy got.

Rant over

Posted by: Thora | October 22, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I really wish they would have forgotten about Posh boy and instead threw the bank at Zidane.

Posted by: Thora | October 22, 2008 5:02 PM
--------------------------------------------

Not too late to fix that. Imagine the publicity surrounding Zidane coming OUT of retirement....

Posted by: Anonymous | October 22, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

From Kyle Martino on Goal.com

Beyond the injuries, were there other factors in your decision to walk away?
When I came into preseason, last spring, I did so with the idea of at least playing another season. The Galaxy brought Ruud Gullit in and right off the bat the relationship with him was rocky at best. He didn’t really know anything about MLS. To give you an example, he had no idea about the salary cap. He hadn’t really watched any games, and just came in and really let his personality take over and direct things in a negative way. A lot of people who gave a lot for the team and cared a lot about wearing the jersey, were immediately just disregarded, which was kind of sad because there were plenty of people within the Galaxy organization that knew there were a handful of core players that gave so much to the Galaxy and were assets. It was very discouraging. It was, in a little way, the last straw for me.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | October 22, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Can he take the "Beckham Rule" with him?

Posted by: Terp | October 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

yankiboy:

Hating LA didn't become the thing to do around here when Beckham arrived, or even when Donovan arrived. I don't recall having any specific loathing towards them until...1998? What year was it that Cienfuegos scored on us thanks to the old non-continuous clock? Anyway, they're a team of jerks and always will be. Montreal is going to need many years of time to equal LA.

VBB:

It's funny Martino would say that, since he was only at LA for 2 years before retiring, and we just watched Peter Vagenas last a whole season making way too much money while contributing almost nothing. Cobi Jones was also retained as Gullit's assistant, which is something Gullit didn't have to do (though I suppose he might not have had any say in the matter). The point is, Martino strikes me as someone who regrets walking away from the game, not as a 100% reliable source.

***

I think people are reading way too much into this. Beckham can't make anywhere near as much money or be as big a name in Italy. Serie A has tons of top-level stars, so I don't imagine fans will flock to see Beckham in the manner that they did here. Attendance will probably rise a bit when he's in town, but we're not talking about 20-30K boosts.

All that's happening here is that Beckham sees serious competition for his spot in the England squad (not just the starting XI, but even getting called in). He knows that if he starts being omitted, it could very well be the end of his England career (with the number of promising English wingers, this seems likely). If he doesn't find a place to play over the winter, he'll get omitted, so he has to go somewhere. He can play with Milan, keep himself in Capello's good graces, and come back in March to play with LA.

Sometimes there's nothing between the lines.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | October 22, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

why do people assume Beckham wants or needs more money? The dude already has more money than 99.9% of everyone else in the world. I think he is not so motivated by money as other things.

Posted by: Glenn | October 22, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

"Could only last from January through March"

FIFA rules won't allow that. Loan has to go transfer window to transfer window. Beckham couldn't return until summer.

Posted by: Troy | October 22, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Is that between countries only? How else do you explain the 1 month, 2 month etc loans that so many academy players go on in the UK?

Posted by: Colm | October 22, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

It must be. Because we also have loans here, between MLS and USL.

Posted by: Troy | October 22, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Approved, but only provided he never comes back and takes the screaming 12-year-olds with him.

Good riddance, Becks and your circus.

Posted by: Max J. | October 22, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Goff, I never said the Galaxy was paying the $250M. But the endorsement deals, the jersey sales, the image rights, etc., depend on him being in MLS, yes? One of the main reasons he came here was that he got 100% of his image rights, something he had never had before. Would that apply if he went back to Europe?

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | October 22, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Joe Doc - "Curvatura gradice Beckham"

Posted by: Chewy | October 22, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

kaka, Pirlo, Gattuso, Emerson, Seedorf, Ambrosini, & becks. Crowded mid.

Posted by: Moteus | October 22, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Can he crack the lineup at Milan? Oh sure, for the first few matches he might but he's not as productive as he used to be.

He had trouble getting on the field 3 years ago in Madrid.

Posted by: JJ | October 22, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill with this. This will be as-advertised with Beckham coming back to LA just like they say he's going to.

And don't worry about the whole transfer window thing. MLS will move the season back to accomodate him :-P

Posted by: G-fan | October 22, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

That's an excellent point regarding the minimum loan time.

If indeed he does go on an official "loan" the Galaxy/MLS would also have to get something in return.

Very interesting...

Posted by: ElChele | October 23, 2008 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Interesting article on BBC this am. AC Milan says loan is for January and Februrary and back to Galaxy mid-March.

Bruce didn't seem to know about it and would be surprised and concerned if Galaxy loaning out a top player in a rebuilding year.

The plot thickens!

Posted by: Beckster | October 23, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

FIFA rules won't allow that. Loan has to go transfer window to transfer window. Beckham couldn't return until summer.

Posted by: Troy | October 22, 2008 8:25 PM

That's not a FIFA regulation - but apparently the Italian Football Federation has some rule about loans lasting either 6 months or a year. Milan are not treating this like that regulation will be a problem (it might only be vaild for loans between Italian clubs anyway - then again, when have rules meant anything in Italy ;-)

If there is a problem with the length of the stay proposed, MLS can always reject the loan and go back to the original training only idea.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 23, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Milan are not treating this like that regulation will be a problem...
Posted by: Kev29 | October 23, 2008 10:15 AM
=================

Given their owner, that is not surprising.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 23, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

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