David Beckham would 'love to be captain' of Team GB at the London Olympics

 

David Beckham insists retirement is far from his thoughts after revealing he turned down offers from Premier League clubs to stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former England captain's five-year contract with the Major League Soccer side expired last month and he had been linked with various clubs, including former team Manchester United and their Premier League rivals Tottenham.

However, the 36-year-old, who was also pursued by Paris St Germain, has now signed a new two-year deal with the Galaxy, with whom he won the 2011 MLS Cup.

He said: "I was offered the chance (to return to the Premier League), yes, but I'm happy here so that was a major factor in my decision - my family, my children, and playing for the Galaxy.

"That was what I was passionate about."

Asked which clubs had made him offers, Beckham said coyly: "One or two."

Despite his advancing years, Beckham - who yesterday reaffirmed his desire to eventually own an MLS franchise - insists he is far from finished.

"Retirement was never a part of my plans," he said at a Galaxy news conference.

"It had been talked about by other people but it always is when you get to this stage in your career.

"I've not even started thinking about retirement yet. Last season was such a special season, not just because we were champions but the way we played and conducted ourselves on and off the field.

"I could feel a change within the players."

 

Beckham will now begin pre-season preparations ahead of the new MLS season, but he also has a return to the United Kingdom on his radar, with Great Britain fielding a team in the London Olympics this summer.

Asked about his dream of captaining the British team, Beckham said: "Obviously I've had conversations with Stuart Pearce (GB coach), but as for being captain, it hasn't even been decided if I will be selected.

"As long as I'm fit, healthy and in form, then hopefully I'll have a chance of making the team.

"I'd love to be captain. I've been captain a few times for my country before and to lead them into an Olympics would be special for any player."

Beckham's priority for the time being, however, is his crusade to raise the profile of the sport across the Atlantic.

"For me, soccer's the number one sport around the world, apart from America," he said. "I want to get soccer to another level in the US.

"I've felt a change in the last two years and don't want to walk away from it. I want to continue to be a part of that growth."

Speaking about Beckham's plans to own an MLS franchise, Tim Leiweke - president of AEG which owns the Galaxy - added: "A part of this conversation was trying to sort through the fact that he has the right, and has made it very clear to us, that he's going to exercise his option to be an owner in Major League Soccer.

"He's much more focused on that, we have a commitment to help him when that time comes and my guess is we're going to be competing with him, on and off the pitch.

"Unless I'm mistaken, that's his future when he does make a decision to retire and we and the partners in the league have structured that option in a way that will allow David to become one of the owners in the league and run his own franchise."

PA

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