Beckham eyes next move after revealing he is quitting LA Galaxy… but it is Australia, China or even England now
01:08 GMT, 20 November 2012
07:39 GMT, 20 November 2012
David Beckham is to leave the Los Angeles Galaxy – but has set his sights on one more challenge before retiring.
The 37-year-old is in line to end his six-year Galaxy stay in style as they defend their MLS Cup title against the Houston Dynamo on December 1.
He said: 'I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.
Time's up: Beckham wants to 'experience one last challenge' before hanging up his boots
Beckham can expect the offers to start flooding in, particularly from growth leagues in Australia and China. There will also be some interest from England, although it is unlikely he will return there.
Australian club Melbourne Heart have confirmed they will try to lure Beckham to the A-League club.
Chief executive Scott Munn said the club planned to offer the midfielder a 10 week contract worth around 1million but they faced competition from at least two Australian clubs plus others from around the world.
Munn told Fox News: 'We're putting forward an offer, it's compelling and the opportunity is here for him to come here.
'That is absolutely legitimate. Let's let David get through next week, play the final of the MLS and hopefully he'll have a win. Then I'm sure he'll assess every offer.'
His final game will take place at the
Galaxy's own Home Depot Center, where he arrived on the American stage
as the first designated player in MLS back in 2007.
'I don't see this as the end of my
relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the
ownership structure in the future,' Beckham added.
'In my time here I have seen the
popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win
trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've
had from fans in LA and across the States.
'Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country and I want to always be part of growing it.'
Landmark arrival: Beckham has enjoyed five seasons with then Galaxy celebrating the MLS Cup in 2011 (below)
American Dream: Beckham has helped change the face of the MLS
Beckham had an option in his initial deal with the league that allowed him to take a future ownership role in a franchise.
Beckham's stint in Los Angeles brought success in the form of the Galaxy's third MLS Cup crown last year.
But he also faced repeated criticism
from some Galaxy fans, particularly early on in his stay, for a
perceived lack of commitment to the cause.
Two loan stints at AC Milan, during
the second of which he tore an Achilles tendon, as he attempted to keep
his place in the England team did little to help that perception, as
well as comments made while in Italy about the standard of football in
Two low points arrived back in 2009
when Beckham confronted a fan during a match after his every touch was
booed and attracted criticism from team-mate Landon Donovan.
Since then he has won over many
supporters, in no small part due to a dramatic upturn in form over the
last two seasons, and he was voted the league's best player by fans
earlier this year, although his detractors still remain, particularly
among the club's hardcore followers known as the LA Riot Squad.
Beckham was brought to America as
much for the effect of his brand as his on-field ability, and MLS
commissioner Don Garber believes he has been successful in helping to
grow the sport.
Famous faces: The former England skipper meets US president Barack Obama
'When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America,' he said.
'There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived.
'David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the league.'
Beckham's initial contract with the league included a clause allowing him to be involved in owning an expansion team down the line.
Beckham negotiated his deal to join the Galaxy while at Real Madrid at the start of 2007, when he was out of favour with then coach Fabio Capello.
In Spain he added one league title to the six he won in England with United, as well as one FA Cup and a Champions League title in 1999 during United's storied treble season.
Capello later made Beckham a big part his England team – after being sidelined and subsequently recalled by previous manager Steve McClaren – ensuring he became the country's most capped outfield player.
The Achilles injury suffered at Milan ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup, however, and he was surprisingly left out of Stuart Pearce's Great Britain Olympic squad this summer.
1975: Born Leytonstone, May 2.
1991: Joins Manchester United as trainee.
1992: Makes debut against Brighton in the League Cup on September 23. Wins FA Youth Cup.
1993: Signs professional contract at Old Trafford.
1995: Joins Preston on loan in February and scores two goals in five games.
1996: Helps United to Premier League and FA Cup double.
Scores goal of the season on opening day at Wimbledon, lobbing Neil Sullivan from the halfway line. Makes his England debut in the 3-0 win in Moldova.
1997: Collects another championship winners' medal, voted PFA Young Player of the Year.
1998: Scores first England goal, a free-kick against Colombia in Lens on June 26. Sent off in second-round penalty shoot-out defeat against Argentina.
1999: Helps United win the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup after coming from behind to beat Bayern Munich with two late goals.
Runner-up in World Player of the Year awards, behind Rivaldo.
2000: May – Collects fourth championship winner's medal as United win title by a record 18 points.
November – Named England captain for the November friendly with Italy in Turin by stand-in boss Peter Taylor.
2001: May – Collects another Premier League title with United.
October – Curls in a 25-yard last-minute free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford to earn England a 2-2 draw and send them into World Cup finals.
2002: May 11 – Signs new three-year contract reported to be worth between 90,000 and 100,000 a week.
June 7 – Scores from the penalty spot in the World Cup group stage match against Argentina to seal a 1-0 win.
England bow out in the quarter-finals at the hands of eventual winners Brazil.
2003: February – Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson accidentally kicks a boot into Beckham's face in frustration at United's FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.
June 14 – Awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to football.
June 17 – United announce they have accepted a 25million bid from Real Madrid for Beckham, who agrees personal terms.
2004: June 24 – Misses a penalty as England lose to Portugal in a shoot-out in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals in Lisbon.
2005: November: Captains England for 50th time in friendly against Argentina in Geneva.
July 2 – Stands down as England captain.
August 11 – Dropped from squad for friendly against Greece, Steve McClaren's first match as manager.
2007: January 11 – Beckham announces he will leave Real Madrid and join Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy on a five-year contract in August.
January 13 – Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello says Beckham will never play for the club again.
May 26 – McClaren hands Beckham a shock England recall for matches against Brazil and Estonia.
June – Wins the La Liga title with Madrid, having won back his place in the team.
August 16 – Beckham scores his first goal for Galaxy on his full debut in the SuperLiga semi-final meeting with DC United with a trademark free-kick.
2008: March 26 – Wins 100th cap in the friendly against France.
October 30 – Milan announce Beckham will join them on loan on January 7, 2009.
2009: January 11 – Makes shock first start for Milan in 2-2 Serie A draw at Roma.
March 9 – AC Milan announce that under a unique 'timeshare' agreement, Beckham will stay with them in Italy until the end of the season, return to the Galaxy from July to October and then rejoin the Serie A club for the rest of the 2009-10 campaign.
March 28 – Comes on as a half-time substitute against Slovakia at Wembley to win his 109th cap and break Bobby Moore's record for an outfield player.
July 20, 27 – Twice confronts fans who gave him a hostile reception in his first home games after returning to the Galaxy.
2010: March 14 – Tears his Achilles tendon in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo – an injury that rules him out of the World Cup.
June – Part of England's backroom staff for World Cup campaign which ends in second-round defeat to Germany.
August 11 – England career appears to be at an end when Capello tells ITV: 'Probably he is a little bit old.'
2011: November 20 – Wins the MLS Cup as the Galaxy beat Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the final.
December 31 – Five-year deal at the Galaxy expires.
2012: January 19 – Re-signs with the Galaxy.
June 28 – Announces he has not been included in Team GB's squad for the Olympic Games.
November 16 – Football Federation Australia claim a representative of Beckham approaches them with a view to the midfielder making a short-term move to the A-League in the MLS off-season. A Beckham spokesman says his client has “absolutely no plans to play in Australia”.
November 20 – Confirms he is to leave the Galaxy after MLS Cup on December 1.