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Beckham Heads for LA in $1 Million a Week Deal
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David Beckham will leave Real Madrid at the end of the Spanish season and sign a five-year deal for US side Los Angeles Galaxy worth $1 million a week, the biggest in world sport.

"After discussing several options with my family and my advisors to either stay here in Madrid or join other major British and European teams I have decided to join LA Galaxy and play in the Major League Soccer (MLS) from August this year," Beckham told Reuters.

The 31-year-old former England captain, married to former Spice Girl pop star Victoria "Posh Spice" Adams, will earn a total $250 million over the five years financed heavily by endorsements and including bonuses based on performance and the future success of the MLS.

"I would like to thank supporters and the people of Madrid who have made my family and I so welcome in my time here making this an extremely difficult decision to make," Beckham added.

"I have enjoyed my time here enormously and I am extremely grateful to the club for giving me an opportunity to play for such a great team and their amazing fans."

Beckham, who joined the Spanish giants from Manchester United in June 2003, is still one of the most recognisable and marketable sports figures in the world despite being dropped by England following last year's World Cup quarter-final exit and has spent much of the Spanish season on the bench.

He is certainly the biggest name to move to the US since soccer greats Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff played in the now-defunct North American Soccer League (NASL) in the 1970s and early 80s gives a major shot in the arm to the Major League Soccer (MLS), formed 10 years ago.


In a televised interview issued by LA Galaxy, Beckham added: "Another challenge has come up and it is the right time for us to do it. "I didn't want to go out there at 34 years old and for people to turn around and say he's only going there to get the money. It's not what I'm going out there to do.

"I'm going to hopefully build a club and a team that has a lot of potential. I think that is what excites me. "Regrets? No. I have never had any regrets throughout my life and career and I never want to.

"To play with the players I have played with, to play with (Zinedine) Zidane was the biggest honour I have had in my career, to play with the likes of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos you know, for me, there is no regrets there."


Real Madrid confirmed that Beckham would not renew his contract with the club on their Web site (www.realmadrid.com).

LA Galaxy had made public their interest in Beckham who runs a football academy that shares its home with the team and who has close links to the Anschutz Entertainment Group who own the club.

"David Beckham coming to MLS might be viewed by some as one of the most important moments for soccer in this country and perhaps the history of professional sport," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

"David transcends the sport and is a cultural icon. David is clearly one of the most recognisable athletes in the world. People are going to feel really good about David Beckham spending the rest of his career in the US"

The news ends months of speculation about the future of the midfielder whose contract with Real expires at the end of the season.


Having been first choice in the Real Madrid starting lineup since he moved to Spain, Beckham lost his place following the arrival of Italian coach Fabio Capello.

He has only started five of Real's 16 league games this season and was known to be frustrated with his lack of opportunities in the first team.

The former Manchester United player said he was now inspired by the challenge of cracking the American soccer market.

"I am proud to have played for two of the biggest clubs in football and I look forward to the new challenge of growing the world's most popular game in a country that is as passionate about its sport as my own.

But he insisted he would be giving his all for Real Madrid until the end of the season to try to win the major trophy that has eluded him since he joined the club in 2003.

"For the rest of this season I will continue to give 100 percent to my coach, team mates and fans and I believe (coach) Fabio Capello will bring this club and its supporters the success they truly deserve."

(China Daily via Reuters January 12, 2007)

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