David Beckham is ready to open talks with the Los Angeles Galaxy regarding a contract extension that would keep him in Major League Soccer after his current deal ends in 2011.
Beckham made the stunning revelation in an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports, spiking the widely held assumption that he would quit soccer in two years time.
Until recently, the most likely developments regarding Beckham's future appeared to be that he would part company with the Galaxy before the completion of his five-year, $33 million agreement. However, the club's dramatic revival – finishing atop the Western Conference and entering the playoffs as one of the MLS Cup favorites – appears to have convinced Beckham to consider long-term plans in Tinseltown.
Asked if he would extend his stay with the Galaxy, Beckham said, "There is every chance. I signed a five-year deal and I always said I would honor that. I am good friends with Tim Leiweke and everybody at AEG [and] they have been great to me in the support they have shown. There is no reason why I wouldn't see that through. We will see what happens [at the end of the current contract]."
The Galaxy and Beckham will announce a loan deal early this week, sending him back to Italian club AC Milan for part of next season. But this time when Beckham joins Milan – in a deal designed to maximize his chances for being picked to England's World Cup squad – he will go with the full blessing of the Galaxy. And there is no doubt that he'll return to fulfill his contract, and then probably more service.
At 34, he shows no sign of slowing down. He was named man of the match for England against Belarus last month and has been outstanding for the Galaxy, a far cry from the jaded and unmotivated figure that became so frustrated toward the end of last season.
The Galaxy battled Chivas USA in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinal playoff on Sunday, drawing 2-2 with their intra-city rival. The Galaxy are just three wins away from the MLS championship. Such an outcome would have seemed impossible 12 months ago, as Beckham and the team completed a second straight disastrous season that caused his American adventure to be written off as an abject failure.
Even when he rejoined the Galaxy in July following a first loan spell with Milan, it looked like nothing could go right. Friction with teammate Landon Donovan over a book titled "The Beckham Experiment," which chronicled the troubles the franchise had experienced in 2007 and 2008, seemed certain to have a negative impact
Instead, Beckham and Donovan both swallowed their pride and combined for the greater good of a much-improved team, which has been carefully built and steadily marshaled by veteran head coach Bruce Arena.
"I always said this would happen," Beckham said. "When I came back, people queried whether it was going to be tough for the team with me coming back halfway through, but my response to that was always that it can only be sorted out on the field and we have done that.
"As a franchise, it was very important to be in this position because everyone talks about us as a franchise to be reckoned with and a good organization, so it was important this year to get in the playoffs. It's not just been a disappointing two years, it's been a disappointing three or four years. We've done it with hard work."
Weekend Best XI
1. Get him an Advil
The net is closing on Rafael Benitez, who is hanging on to his job at Liverpool by the flimsiest of threads. A 3-1 English Premier League defeat at Fulham was the latest in a demoralizing series of results, salvaged only by the side's home win against Manchester United.
More and more, it looks as if Benitez has lost the ability to either motivate his players or put together a solid formation. It will take a drastic revival to spare him from being fired.
2. Get him a beer
Gonzalo Higuain deserved a cold one after scoring twice to end Real Madrid's slump – and head coach Manuel Pellegrini should pick up the tab. Higuain's double in a 2-0 win over Getafe saved Pellegrini from the sack in a week where the team was humbled in a 4-0 loss to third-tier Alcocorn in the Copa del Rey.
3. Get him some earplugs
Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha stood by his controversial decision to bench designated player and reigning MLS Cup MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto, despite the Crew's 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake in the first leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal. But if the club can't piece together a revival at home this week, Warzycha will struggle to live down his bizarre move.
4. Keep an eye on …
Thierry Henry. We've been banging this drum for as long as we can remember, but every week seems to bring fresh rumors linking the Barcelona forward with a move to MLS. Just how soon it happens could depend on the state of his relationship with Barca coach Pep Guardiola. The two have had a falling out and a transfer at the end of the season seems imminent.
5. Catch a flight to …
Milan. The San Siro is the place to be for Tuesday's epic Champions League rematch between AC Milan and Real Madrid. Great food, high fashion, the world-famous Duomo (cathedral) and some magnificent soccer. Sound OK?
6. Useless and completely made up statistic of the week
8 – The number of conspiracy theories Jose Mourinho voiced last week about how the world is against Inter Milan. Somehow, despite Serie A officials, referees, schedule makers and God all ganging up against the team, Inter is seven points clear at the top of the table and has dropped only five points all season.
7. Fond farewell It's going to be "Thank you and goodbye" for Hull City boss Phil Brown, one of the EPL's friendlier managers. Brown simply hasn't been able to get anything going since the club's superb start to last season and is likely to be dumped this week.
American striker Jozy Altidore probably won't be too disappointed. He was fined by Brown for turning up late to a game and then writing about it on Twitter.
8. Get ready to say hello to …
Jorge Campos. The former Mexico national team goalkeeper, famous for his multi-colored jerseys and habit of leaving his penalty area, is in the running for the role of technical director at FC Dallas.
9. Get ready to say goodbye to …
Cuauhtemoc Blanco. It looks like it'll be three years and out for Blanco and the Chicago Fire, with the Mexican superstar set to return to his homeland to rejoin Veracruz.
10. Get excited about …
Chelsea's diamond formation. With Joe Cole back at full fitness and the midfield utterly dominant, Carlo Ancelotti's men are Europe's most in-form side, having racked up 17 unanswered goals in their last four games. A 4-0 trouncing of Bolton at Reebok Stadium on Saturday kept them atop the EPL.
11. Why it's good to be a soccer player
Check out Oksana Andersson, former girlfriend of Swedish midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson.