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The Beckham Watch

Here's the latest from David Beckham in Italy.

Which brings us to these polls:

By Steve Goff  |  January 28, 2009; 11:04 AM ET
Categories:  Beckham , MLS , Poll  
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Comments

he is going to opt out anyway. might as well make some cash. he served his purpose. he can still play, and wants to make the 2010 England team. If he wants to come back after that, I'm sure they can work something out. The league made its money, let him go and make some money, or lose him and get nothing. seems like a no brainer to me.

Posted by: torrey151 | January 28, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

My take -- I can't believe that he would walk away from something. On the other hand, I tend to ignore all rumors, and they always tend to be true.

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I am completely conflicted about all of this. On one hand he came to the US to raise the level of MLS and make the sport bigger. That did not happen exactly in the way we had hoped. It certainly raised the profile a bit, was pub talk around the world, but certainly didn't make the league much bigger. His stay was not maximized because the team he was on was such crap and that is an MLS party foul.

On the other hand I wish to see him succeed and play his way on to the England squad for 2010. Happy he's happy but we are not.

His stay in MLS felt strange, as if he was forcing himself, and that is sad. He is amongst others that are as popular and big in life with KAKA and Ronaldinho on the team. He is surrounded by superstars as opposed to being the ONLY superstar on a team of... fans. He is gone one way or another, I don't think he really enjoyed his stay in the States as much as he will admit.

Let this particular circus act leave town I say but make them pay for it or else we yank the freak's chain to go back to his cage!!!

Posted by: elfelixg | January 28, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

So a majority of respondents so far are "indifferent" if he leaves the league -- wouldn't we expect him to draw more fans to matches than anyone who might replace him? And isn't that a good thing? Or are we assuming Milan's fee will be more than the income from all those tickets, so therefore better for the league? Or is it that the fans he draws are cretins?

Posted by: fallschurch1 | January 28, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Whoops. I thought the second question was how would Becks feel, not me...

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

He'll leave even if he has to fund for his own transfer fee (I think this is allowed). He looks happy and seems to be playing along well with his teammates. I don't see any of the resentment from the Milan players that some LA Galaxy players showed.

As an MLS fan, I couldn't care less if he stays or leaves, but it would be great to see his career end on a high note with a highly respected club.

Posted by: RedDevil1 | January 28, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

He brought a spotlight to MLS. Unfortunately it was shining on the LA Galaxy.

What might have been a chance to raise the reputation of MLS probably did more to confirm the world's assumption that it's not a real league. His leaving for Milan would confirm that assumption, but with him would go the spotlight. At this point, that's probably a good thing.

Galaxy has always been -- true to name -- a handful of stars and a whole lot of space. With Becks and Donovan leaving, and Bruce making the calls, they just might start to look like a real soccer team over the next few years.

Posted by: jealousmuse | January 28, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm indifferent because while MLS got Beckham earlier than it should have, the league was not as far along as it should have been to handle him.

Live and Learn - it was great for the league and put it in a new light both good and bad and the league learned that if it wants this level of play and attention it needs to do better about handling it - and the first thing it can adjust is the level of play of it's teams by raising the pay scale and boosting the level of competition.

I was glad to see him here, I'll be sad that he won't stay, but MLS drums on - and Bruce Arena will have $750,000 in cap space to replace two players. Even aggressively - that's Ze Roberto (DP for Donovan) and $350 to go out and get two younger talents to mold.

LA will get over it. MLS will get over it. And we've all learned something from this.

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | January 28, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Soooo... Gallardo back to river depending on his physical at River? So says his agent that its almost a done deal?

http://www.ole.clarin.com/notas/2009/01/28/futbollocal/01848199.html

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 28, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I still have a gut feeling he'll come back for this season and then opt out. That way, he can still go to the highest bidder.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | January 28, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

If he leaves,I won't be sad not sad, but a little disappointed that I won't be able to take my kids to see him play.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 28, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I-270: Milan is one of the cheapest cities to fly to :)

Posted by: Reignking | January 28, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

River is in Deep 'S' right now, and their star forward Falcao of colombia has asked their FO' to find a team leader with experience, he stated himself bring gallardo or ortega back.

So looks like they are listening to their players, but strangely it says they will pay for the loan of Gallardo. Maybe cause they dont want to pay a transfer out right for his last season there?

That would mean though, they would have to somehow come up with 1.9million to pay his wage that he earns here at DC i think.... right?

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 28, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Beckham is a great professional (by all accounts) and I suspect that leaving the Galaxy at this point will probably cause him some heartache. He had wanted to help improve the level of play and attention soccer gets in America. But, even the great David Beckham Traveling Circus could not do what only time and patience can influence. I think he's realized this now and feels that if he continues to put his energies into a pipe-dream, he will not get a chance to experience his other dream.

As a professional athlete, David Beckham has dreams of playing at the highest level and winning a World Cup for homeland. If he wants to have that opportunity, he cannot stay in MLS. Our league simply is not mature enough to be considered sufficient to evaluate the form of an International superstar. Why do you think that so many Americans who do well here, struggle in other leagues. I think maybe Brian McBride is the real exception.

If he leaves, I will be glad. The Galaxy will get better without having a player larger than the league on their team; Games against LA will be more enjoyable without so many Beckham fans in attendance; and the term "Beckham Rule" will stopped getting used to describe Designated Players (as if they're all trying to live up to David Beckham).

Arrivederci David Beckham...

...oh, and please don't forget to take your alien looking wife with you.

Posted by: TCompton | January 28, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Beck-ham?

Posted by: Section117 | January 28, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

can't believe he would renege on his deal. that said, the galaxy could buy a real star with the money from beckham and donovan's respective sales. del piero anyone?

Posted by: nefariousjahs | January 28, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I still think Becks comes back to LA this summer (maybe after the serie a season instead of March) the run out with the Rossineri is fun and all, but I think he knows it's all a bit of a lark. He's proven to Cappello that he's staying in form in LA, all snark about the league aside. This is one more shot at glory before the long fade continues. His wife and kids want to be in LA, from all reports, and we don't know what he wants, I bet he tells the LA times if they call 'yeah, this is great fun, but I really miss the fans and my teammates in la' he's a marketing genius, he knows how to tell every audience what they want to hear...

Posted by: joshuaostevens | January 28, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Although you could count me among those who thought that Beckham coming to MLS was a good thing for soccer in the US, I now pretty much agree with VirginiaBlueBlood that the time was not right. In 2007, Beckham was a novelty and could sell out large stadiums, but most of those people attending were there to see Posh Spice's husband more than to watch a soccer game.

In general, I have come to believe that the whole DP idea is a waste of money for MLS. It is not enough money to bring really good players in their prime. Instead it is drawing some aging named players who might excite those of us who are already fans of the sport but who barely evoke a yawn from even casual fans.

As many of the players suggested when Beckham was first signed, the DP money would be better spent on giving developmental players a salary that allows them to make soccer their full-time job and on drawing second-tier players who will improve the depth and style of play of many MLS teams.

Posted by: Rhio | January 28, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Posted by TCompton:

"If he leaves, I will be glad...Games against LA will be more enjoyable without so many Beckham fans in attendance;"

All those flash-bulbs didn't get in for free. "So many Beckham fans" pay cash for tickets to matches. Cash keeps the league in business. He delivered on the promise of putting fans in the seats.

Beckham legitimized the league to other somewhat-marque/highly-skilled players, as well. That raises the level of play, which, in time, attracts other fans paying cash for seats.

Maybe Beckham Season 3 (if it occurs) won't be as frenetic as Beckham Season 1 (while it lasted between injuries), but people aren't crowding the turnstiles to find out if Ben Olsen is back or to watch the Jaime Moreno swan song. They're MY favorite players. But the world has other opinions....

Posted by: DWE4 | January 28, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Did I accidently click on the Washington Post's Soaps Insider?

Posted by: DadRyan | January 28, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

i told you guys about Gallardo leaving , " I bought his Living Room" for crying outloud!! he is gone i said hes house is completely empty..... he is flying back i think today or tomorrow , his family once they get rid of all their thing they purchased,

Redskinsux: My source is that my family is very close to his..

TBBK

Posted by: ThE-BaRRa-BrAvA-KiD | January 28, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

As with most of you, I strongly suspect that Beckham will go to Milan and Donovan to Bayern. It makes you almost feel sorry for Bruce Arena and the Galaxy... NOT!
;)

Posted by: schmuckatelli | January 28, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

me-think that a better solution would be to extend his loan till the end of Serie A season, which would be May. Give him June off for good measure and be back on the Galaxy roster in July.

For one, this approach will give all parties to think about it some more and see how the season develops. If it works out well for Milan, MLS can sell him in the off-season and more likely get more money for him.

Becks will get the exposure he wants to get back in the starting line-up for England. and if he does not get in, he will see the whole thing as all for naught and will resign himself to coming back to L.A.

wait it out and see what happens.

Posted by: gmail | January 28, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jealousmuse

Galaxy has always been -- true to name -- a handful of stars and a whole lot of space.

Sounds like you've only been following the league from the Sampson era on. Through 2004 or so, Galaxy teams were always one of the top TEAMS in the league. They weren't just Jones, Cienfuegos and a bunch of stiffs.

VBB makes a good point: In January of 2007, DB was out of faovr with both Real Madrid and England, so the time seemed right for his long anticpated move here. Then both Capello and McLaren got desperate, and the rest is history.

What is unfortunate is that plenty will call his time here a failure despite the facts. The Mouse doesn't start paying MLS without Beckham being here, and I imagine the Becks Buzz didn't hurt the sudden interest in more expansion slots. Plus, the Galaxy was already suffering from seriously stupid personnel choices, let alone things done by Lalas, Bravo, Lieweke and Gullit pre-Bruce, yet the team still led the league in scoring last year.

Posted by: EricB1 | January 28, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Becks is making it in Milan is HUGE for MLS. Many in Europe expected Becks to dominate in the MLS--to single-handedly control games. That didn't happen. I saw him at RFK, and yes, his passes were amazing, but he was shut down on offense and invisible on defense (duh!). So folks started to say he was washed up--he wasn't even dominant on his own team. Now that he's back in Europe and keeping up with Kaka, there has got to be a general realization that MLS isn't that far behind and is gaining ground fast.

Posted by: glfrazier | January 28, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I will be jubilant when Gallardo and Beckham are both gone. They are different players with their own individual pros and cons but bringing in highly paid fragile players onto a team with a low salary cap causes other players to have to settle for low wages.

MLS can't offer competitive entry-level wages so teams wind up with lots of semi-pro types rather than mid-range soccer players who can increase the level of play throughout the league.

Every league needs to market itself. But personally I'd rather follow a league that tries to woo soccer fans through playing good soccer rather than trying to attract celebrity watchers who will only last as long as the fad remains the trendy thing to do.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | January 28, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | January 28, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Seriously I just want him to get the hell out of my country... I LOATH HIM! LOATH, LOATH, LOATH him at this point

Posted by: Shanoni | January 28, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I disagree, having beckham and blanoc, gallardo, etc. makes other teams games more fun to watch to see what these $$$ players can do, and watch what they bring. Personally, beyond DC before the DC rule i could give a 'F' about any team games, unless it had part on who DC would play. MLS play to me was boring sorta. But after the DP rule, blanco brought new play to this league that i hadnt seen since the beginning with cienfuegos and etcheverry. Same goes with Beck's i just wanted to see him do well, or see what he can do. I am sure others would say the same about Piojo lopez or gallardo, to see if they still had what they used to, not some no name players trying to string together passes.

Thats my point, as a soccer fan it got me a little more interested in MLS.

Posted by: BolivianDCFan | January 28, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Games against LA will be more enjoyable without so many Beckham fans in attendance"

--That would be the "Beckham fans are cretins" philosophy I was wondering about. I prefer going to games that have more fans, rather than fewer fans, regardless of why they are there . . . for one thing, if everyone there knows the game, then how can I feel superior to them? :) If it's just me, Chest, and I-270 in the stands, then I'm the dumbest guy there, but if some Becks-only teenagers attend, bueno, otro cien pesos . . .

Posted by: fallschurch1 | January 28, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Good luck selling your house, wanker!!

What an idiot.

Posted by: Hoost | January 28, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks DCUnitedFootball.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 28, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

No, Shanoni, you LOATHE him

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 28, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

glfrazier made me point. How does this not make MLS look better?

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | January 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

you should have an option for "mixed feelings" instead of indifferent.

Posted by: Matte | January 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I found this quote interesting:

"I find (Milan) very similar to DC United. It has that tradition that only the great clubs have," Beckham said. "At Milan, like at United, it's a very particular atmosphere wherever you go, from the training pitch to the stadium."

Posted by: mason16 | January 28, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong. I like the games that are well attended. But, I go to games to watch DC United. Anything that prevents me from doing this when I'm there annoys me. It just so happens that Beckham fans are the worst.

They're the fans that crush down into the aisles they don't have tickets in to be closer and to get a better picture of David Beckham. It's typically a crowd of 20 somethings with a few girls who want to scream out for Beckham. They inevitably crowd you out of your seat/standing room, prevent you from ordering a beer, push and shove their way through your row to get to an open seat so that the ushers don't see them, etc...

The crowd in the upper deck... that's cool and fine. The ones that I have to ask to move so I can see are the ones I have a problem with.

I don't care that they paid to get in. They're not in the seats they bought.

Posted by: TCompton | January 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I found this quote interesting:

"I find (Milan) very similar to DC United. It has that tradition that only the great clubs have," Beckham said. "At Milan, like at United, it's a very particular atmosphere wherever you go, from the training pitch to the stadium."

Posted by: mason16 | January 28, 2009 2:10 PM

Amusing....

Of course, we'll miss Becks. Games against the Gals will be far less interesting. When Blanco goes, there will be no great personality in the MLS -- unless MLS can persuade others to make the leap.

I think Becks was disappointed inte quality of the games, but maybe a little disappointed with Hollywood, too. I suspect he'll find stylish Milan more to his liking. On the other hand, he might be back in 2 or 3 years....

Posted by: fischy | January 28, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This is one case where I hope MLS plays a little hardball on the transfer fee.

Becks new what he was getting into when he signed. Now he has hopes for one more WC, but thinks he has a better shot playing for Milan.

Usually when guys only have one year left they have leverage in forcing a deal. Because Beckham so wants to work his way into the qualifying roster, I think MLS has the upper hand.

So not only should Milan be willing to pay up for a contributor, but Beckham should as well. What's it worth to him?

$15M and a big cut of Milan jersey sales this year seems about right.

Posted by: srfinger | January 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Don't look now, Becker scores again!!!

Posted by: DCPeruano | January 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

AC Milan is like DC United. I like that. That's pretty.

I think the reality is along the lines of glfrazier's comment, that Becks went from LA to Milan without missing a beat to be an affirmation of the level of play in MLS.

I think the perception will be completely negative for MLS. The message will be along the lines of what a fool Becks was to give up and settle on the MLS backwater swamp that we run so horribly. It'll be lose/lose no matter where he ends up.

As for DPs, I'm not sure what to think. I am inclined to say they are a waste and a distraction. But then you get to examples like GBS, Angel, and Blanco, guys that improve the whole team. I think the problem is a belief that a team will insert a DP and then everything will fall into place. The successful DPs compliment an already solid team (except NYRB whose run last season defies reason).

Posted by: DCU-ATL | January 28, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"I find (Milan) very similar to DC United."


That is a misquote. What Becks said was that Milan is similar to Manchester United. Then it makes a bit more sense...

Posted by: glfrazier | January 28, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Becks sucks!
We need to make a splash by bringing in players who
are young and talented. Not hobbling around or worried
about their cologne sales.
But most importantly the guy didnt deliver, if he was that
good he would have propelled the Galaxy to atleast the
playoffs!
So good riddance!
Bon voyage!
Hopefully you'll take Tom and Katie with you too!

Posted by: jimmydeanroundsausages | January 28, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

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