David Beckham has come under a blistering attack from Los Angeles Galaxy team-mate Landon Donovan just as he prepares to return for action with the Major League Soccer team.
In a new book due out later this month, Donovan claims Beckham has demonstrated little commitment to the Galaxy cause and been a negative influence on the team since the ousting of former coach Ruud Gullit.
"All that we care about at a minimum is that he committed himself to us," Donovan says in 'The Beckham Experiment', authored by Sports Illustrated writer Grant Wahl.
"As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways - on the field, off the field.
"Does the fact that he earns that much more money come into it? Yeah. If someone's paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you are suspended or not. Show up and train hard, show up and play hard."
Donovan, who is the United States captain and wears the Galaxy armband in Beckham's absence, also questioned the former England skipper's leadership abilities, claiming he is too often silent in team meetings.
"Maybe he's not a leader, maybe he's not a captain," he said. "Fair enough. But at a minimum, you should bust your ass every day. That hasn't happened. And I don't think that's too much for us to expect. Especially when he's brought all this on us."
Beckham's first season in MLS was a largely miserable experience as an unbalanced Galaxy team struggled all year and missed out on the play-offs, with Gullit quitting before the end of the campaign.
Gullit's departure, which came a little over a month after Beckham's Galaxy debut, is the moment Donovan believes the light went out for the club's marquee player.
"When David first came, I believed he was committed to what he was doing," Donovan said. "He cared. He wanted to do well. He wanted the team and the league to do well.
"Somewhere along the way - and in my mind it coincides with Ruud being let go - he just flipped a switch and said, 'Uh-huh, I'm not doing it anymore'."
Donovan went on to claim Beckham is a bad team-mate, because of his lack of commitment.
"He's not shown (he's a good team-mate)," he said. "I can't think of another guy where I'd say he wasn't a good team-mate, he didn't give everything through all this, he didn't still care. But with (Beckham), I'd say no, he wasn't committed."
Evidence of Beckham's lack of commitment to the Galaxy cause ultimately came when he aggressively pushed for a loan move to AC Milan in January, and then extended it to the point that he missed half of the 2009 MLS season.
That is evidence that he does not care for the league, according to Donovan, who gave up his chance to play in Europe early in his career in order to stay at home.
"My sense is that David's clearly frustrated, that he's unhappy and, honestly, that he thinks it's a joke," he said.
"I also kind of feel (he has taken the team) for granted. I don't see dedication or commitment to this team, and that's troubling."
Beckham is due to make his return for the Galaxy against the New York Red Bulls on July 16, two days after Wahl's book is due to be published.
He will line up alongside Donovan in that game, but the striker does not want that to be the case for much longer.
"Let's say he does stay here for three more years," Donovan said. "I'm not going to spend the next three years of my life doing it this way. This is f****** miserable. I don't want to have soccer be this way."Reuse content