End of his Galaxy quest: Where now for David Beckham?

As his LA Galaxy adventure draws to a close, opportunities open up in France and Australia as clubs bid for the man who is bigger than football

Signed by a government. That’s how it could end, on the football field at least. Too big for football clubs now. David Beckham, the politician’s favourite player.

Paris makes sense. Victoria could go shopping there. Beckham would give the Qatar Investment Authority, owners of Paris St-Germain, the most marquee of marquee signings. Beckham undeniably transcends football. His name gets your club – and ultimately the Qatari government, of which the QIA is an investment arm – into the consciousness of people all over the world. Zlatan Ibrahimovic becomes “I’m a Celebrity...” fodder in such company.

And this is the narrative increasingly surrounding Beckham; his celebrity, his wife, the stores, the publicity he creates.

Dangerously, for this is the most capped outfield player ever to pull on an England shirt, his ability on a field slips further into the subconscious.

The chief executive of Melbourne Heat, Scott Munn, pitched early.

“We’re putting forward an offer,” he said. “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.”

Another club, another continent.

The A-League has seen the impact Beckham’s near-six years in America’s MLS has had. He has helped give it stability, and credibility, moving from Real Madrid when his final achievement in Spain was to win La Liga. Beckham was still young when he moved to America, changing the perception that it was a calling for those almost finished.

“There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived,” said the MLS commissioner Don Garber.

“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. 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.”

The possibility to move to another continent now that Beckham is set to pull the curtain down on his time, as a player at least, in the US, offers opportunities for hungry clubs in Australia. The Herald Sun reported yesterday that five of the 10 A-League members had, or would, declare an interest.

“There’s stuff going on behind the scenes,” said a Central Coast Mariners spokesman. “We’re definitely putting our hand up. He would fill the stadium and change the game up here.”

The MLS had record average attendances of over 18,000 when Beckham said he was leaving. The LA Galaxy recently signed a 10-year broadcasting deal believed to be the most lucrative in the history of the competition. That seems to overshadow his MLS Cup victory from 2011 and three Western Conference titles. In the past two seasons, Beckham has started 54 out of 64 regular season games, scoring nine times.

This is why Carlo Ancelotti, despite not being the driving force in Paris St-Germain’s bid for Beckham, will not offer a disapproving voice. He saw first-hand at Milan the desire and impact the player could have. Beckham started 33 times in Serie A, and such was his competitive drive, he picked up an injury that ended his 2010 World Cup hopes.

The then England manager, Fabio Capello, had a volatile relationship with Beckham dating back to their days at Real Madrid together, but he took him to South Africa anyway in a coaching capacity. Capello will go down as the manager who ended Beckham’s international career but he made peace, as he had done in Madrid. Capello said Beckham would not play again for Real after the player announced his move to LA. He did though, and the pair’s final act at the Bernabeu Stadium together was to give the people of Madrid a first domestic title in four years.

“The truth is that with him [Beckham] we made a mistake,” Capello conceded. “Beckham is a great player. Now he is playing at the same level as he did at Manchester [United].”

There were six Premier League titles in an eight-season spell at Old Trafford, along with two FA Cups and, of course, the Champions League. Sir Alex Ferguson grew tired of what came with the footballer before he went to Madrid but he said of Beckham: “[He] practised with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn’t care about.”

It has become too easy to look at the interest of Anzhi Makhachkala (at 20-1 odds) or Queen’s Park Rangers (16-1) in the 37-year-old and forget what has gone before.

Ancelotti will know from personal experience that if “Team Beckham” lands in Paris, once the handshakes have stopped, he will get a footballer, first and foremost.

Out of this world: Beckham's Galaxy record

* Joined LA Galaxy from Real  Madrid in July 2007.

Games Goals Assists

2007 5 0 2

2008 25 5 10

2009 15 2 4

2010 10 2 3

2011 30 2 19

2012 29 7 10

* Beckham helped Galaxy win the Western Conference three years running between 2009 and 2011. The club made the final of the MLS Cup in 2009 (losing) and 2011 (winning) and face Houston Dynamo in this season’s final next Saturday –  Beckham’s last appearance.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices