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Milan raising stakes in Beckham chase?

David Beckham 3 (Reuters) 

Just when you thought we would hear the last of the AC Milan trying to publicly add fuel to the growing speculation that David Beckham will leave MLS and stay in Italy, now comes word that the Italian powerhouse may include Beckham in its UEFA Cup roster.

Why does that matter? Well, if Beckham honors his loan agreement he will only be around for two UEFA Cup matches.

That sound you hear is Bruce Arena punching a Carlo Ancelotti doll in the face.

The Beckham-Milan story rolls on as stories continue to be written about the saga. I added my contribution to this on, with a piece on what Beckham leaving now would mean for MLS. My opinion, in short, is that MLS will get along fine without Beckham and his time here wasn't wasted if he leaves now. I know some folks disagree, but that's just my take.

What do you think about Ancelotti's latest maneuver? Do you really see him including Beckham in Milan's UEFA Cup roster? Has this saga been more entertaining than the past Galaxy campaign?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Personally I think Beckham needs to stay at the LA Galaxy. He came over saying all this stuff about how he wants to make soccer really popular in the states, and how he is going to honor his contract. Then Capello decides that he is still National team material, and so Beckham gets number 100, even though he puts his club at risk, when they have a game the next day he decides to play an international friendly. Honestly at this point, he is only staying in Europe to stay with the national team, which is stupid because he isnt starting and he isnt going to get another 30 more caps like he wants. He is starting to get the “Brett Favre Syndrome” and not stop until they can do something that everyone else realizes its impossible (in favre’s case, win a superbowl and go out on top). Beckham should stay and keep working the the USSF to help grow soccer in the country.

  2. Beckham can’t carry a team the way LA needed him to do. He was great for exposure, but if his heart isn’t in it, why try to force him to stay?

  3. MLS should stand pat for a while longer.

    If Beckham catches fire they can make a killing and at the same time raise the profile of the league. Even a simple stipulation that Beckham remains officially a MLS “ambassador” while in Italy could give some much needed legitimacy to the MLS.

  4. And we wonder why Montreal pulled out of the expansion running? Perhaps they saw the Donovan and Beckham loan deals for what they were and said, “Thanks, but no thanks! Expansion fee $10 mil. Take it or leave it!”

  5. Joseph – C Ronaldo could probably do the same thing as Beckham if he were in LA dealing with the Galaxy, rather than Sir Alex.

  6. Several points:

    1. I believe that if Beckham leaves MLS, interest in the league will drop dramatically. Yes, he made a lot of money for himself, the Galaxy and the league during his tenure so far but that’s only a short-term gain. Somebody mentioned on another blog that MLS could not charge the expansion fees it’s charging w/o Beckham. If he leaves, there goes expansion after Philadelphia 2010.

    2. Beckham is perhaps the most powerful individual player in soccer. Not necessarily the best or most beloved (though he is beloved) but certainly the most power. What other soccer team — let alone league — would allow *any* player to negotiate with another club for a loan agreement *while under contract*? If Cristiano Ronaldo did this, Alex Ferguson would have his head and other assorted body parts. Beckham is a lot shrewder than people give him credit for being.

    3. Leiweke and Garber have been thoroughly out-maneuvered, and Beckham has exposed them as powerless on the international soccer stage. Why? Because Leiweke’s bloviating bluster has destroyed morale on the Galaxy; that’s been the club’s major problem for the past three years. Any sane businessman already would have “downsized” Leiweke (not only because of the Galaxy but also because of the L.A. Kings and the Red Bull Stadium negotiations).

  7. Why not take all the money for the Beckham loan and buy some other player and try to get in the playoffs?

    I want to see Beckham back in the MLS, but after he’s played a few more years in Europe – any other soccer fan I’m sure wants the same thing.

  8. Count me on the side that feels Beckham is yesterday’s news – to paraphrase the Clash, phony Beckham-mania has bitten the dust. I’m happy for the Galaxy fans, who finally get to join the world of MLS after a year in the twilight zone.

  9. Ives,

    I generally respect your opinion, but you are wrong about this. The TV contracts, the shirt sponsors and 60,000 people at some games are exactly because of Beckham, and nothing else.

    He needs to play out his contract or the gains made in the last couple years will be lost quickly.

    I beg you to talk to the TV folks over at ESPN and find out the real story. They are looking to get out of the contract already because the ratings are so low. No Beckham and they will have their excuse.

  10. Actually SonicDeathMonkey, YOU are in the dark. Does MLS control when ESPN shows games? Do we know all the details to those contracts? Are we certain that ESPN couldn’t take some action once ratings dip without Beckham?

    I think that’s really the point. It’s not at all clear that ESPN has to give MLS some primetime coverage. In fact, what is clear is that if the ratings aren’t there, like they weren’t for Thursday nights on ESPN2, ESPN has the ability to move shows around to different days and different times. If MLS games aren’t generating ratings without David Beckham, perhaps ESPN can move them to some relatively dead time and still be within the contract terms.

    What is likely is that without Beckham, ratings will go down and with them will go jersey sponsorship deals, attendance, expansion, exposure, etc.

    Beckham likely generates at least $10 million of revenue for the Galaxy a season (per Forbes, LA generated $36 million in revenue in 2007, its not unreasonable to believe that having Beckham contributed a third of that), why would the league sell him for $10 million?

    MLS needs to build on having Beckham in the league. I’m not sure that Ljungberg does that so much, but a Thierry Henry or Ronaldinho would. That’s the direction that MLS needs to go in to become relevant in the American sports landscape.

  11. To Tim from Texas:

    The biggest flop in league history was Marcelo Gallardo at DC. The team went from Supporters’ Shield winner to 2008 loser. Marcelo Gallardo played like 15 games and was paid nearly $2 million. At least David Beckham has had a positive impact on the profile of the league.

  12. Great article!!!

    MLS is in better shape than it was 2 years ago, and we do have Beckham to thank for some of that. However it is the overall growth and development of this league and its players that is going to lead to long term success, not a name from Europe (See NASL). The success of teams like TFC, and the number of players getting looks from Europe and getting national team experience is a sign that the league is growing the right way. With or without Beckham the league will be in better shape in 2 years than it is now.

    As a Galaxy fan I would like to see Beckham back, but if both he and Donovan leave, I will still buy tickets and support them. The vast majority of Galaxy fans will. (Plus if we invest the transfer funds properly we could have a top notch team in a couple years.)

    “MLS would be strong enough to go on without Beckham”

    Very true, Ives!

  13. Fabio Capello is the main villain in this story. He is pimping for his good and oh so honest friend Berlusconi. Capello keeps dangling the England cap in front of Beckham. Maybe play for England, but only if you’ll play for AC Milan. What a peiece of work. Let’s hope England fails to qualify for the World Cup and that our bid for the World Cup trumps theirs.

  14. Ives,

    I am SO glad that you are the professional writer. The silliness that passes for intelligent comment from the MLS-haters and owner-bashers is tiresome. I enjoyed your take in the ESPN article and your coverage through this site. MLS will survive and will, over time, continue to grow and thrive-regardless of those that are arrayed against it- whether euro-snobs or anit-association footballers.

  15. The Carlo Ancelotti dolls are available at Radio Shack, right?

    I would be happy to see Beckham go to Milan, and not out of spite, either. I think he has been a benefit to the Galaxy over the past couple years and will stand to help them even more by way of a solid transfer fee. Say what you will about the guy, but he is a consummate professional, he works hard as anyone, and he can still play at the top level. I say let him go.

  16. so if scandinavian leagues can outbid and buy up mls all stars no problem, and players like beckham are sold off or not bought b/c of cheap owners (kraft)…then what exactly are fans and more importantly advertisers playing for? im tired of supporting a dream, i want to be entertained and not embarrassed to say i am an mls fan.

    no doubt mls will survive…but its growth will be stunted big time if beckham leaves. These beautiful SSS around the country are all half empty. it’ll be even worse without beckham. i blame a majority of the other owners out there not using up their DP slots and riding the beckham wave. Props to Chicago and Red Bull for pulling the trigger on major DP signings that brought respect to the league. The other owners dropped the ball big time

  17. I agree with you Ives re: Beckham. He would be missed but MLS would survive.
    In general I’m not too crazy about the league trying to bring in once great players past their prime. This seems to be a short term solution with diminishing returns.
    I would prefer that MLS channels the money into obtaining world class coaches like Dick Advocaat of Zenit St. Petersburg or Ralf Rangnick of Hoffenheim and develop young North American talent similar to the way players are developed in the Dutch League. I believe this would be a better long term strategy and a better investment.

  18. the beckham bounce maxed out the first minute he stepped on a mls field, and the league is still reaping those rewards, but now that bouncing ball is coming back down to earth and the la galaxy needs to take some kind of definitive transfer action fast… every day that they put off making a decision, and the decision must be to let beckham AND landon go to europe at the maximum transfer fee, they are hurting the galaxy organization for the 2009 season. landon and beckham were great professionals and served mls very well, now mls needs to let them live out their dreams in europe.

  19. Looks like Beckham was not included on the UEFA Cup Squad. Arenas sounds like he wants him back and patience is running out with all the speculative antics. Good for him. Good for MLS. Not so good for Becks if his heart is truly set on Milan.

  20. I am with you Ives. I think Beckham has brought a huge amount of attention to MLS and if Milan were to purchase him, let’s say $15M,…it would be a win (MLS)-win (Beckham)- win (Milan) situation.

    What would be the point of forcing Beckham to stay with LA? You would have one very unhappy marketing machine on your hands.

    I think Becks is a decent guy and if MLS and he were to part on good terms,…it may pay dividends down the road.

    Besides,…LA needs a Schelotto,…a player who can make the players around him better and carry the team. Beckham shines when playing with great players around him. Or as I mentioned in earlier posts,…why not take a flyer on some of the young out-of-favor Mexican talent (dos Santos, Castillo)?

  21. Once again cbr, you are in the dark. Having Beckham has not moved the needle, as far as ratings. And secondly, the tv contract doesn’t run out until 2014. That gives them plenty of time to figure something out. I do admit that not having Beckham this year would cause a drop in attendance, no doubt. But the league continues to progress, and will continue to do so, with or without Mr. Beckham.

  22. I think the Galaxy and MLS were hoping for a Pele to NASL like effect on the league when David Beckham came here, and to give credit to them, in some ways it almost was. The national and global attention was there. The sponsorships and endorsements were there. But the most important thing, the play on the field just wasn’t there.

    People in America tuned in to see this world class player, expecting to see something really exciting. But to everyone’s dismay, they only found a slow injury ridden world class role player look out of place on the field.

    Beckham just didn’t produce and is the biggest flop in league history.

  23. The $$$$$$$$$$$$$ MLS could get out of a Beckham deal would be worth so much more than if he was to play here 3 more years. Like some others have already said the “Beckham Effect” has already worn off a little. I think MLS should give Milan a big number, say $20 Million, and see what Milan counters with. If anything else, all the additional press couldn’t hurt Beckham and MLS stature around the world.

  24. you guys are all nuts.

    when beckham leaves the television ratings dip even further and when the tv contracts are up you’ll see the importance of beckham.

    the casual soccer fans (whom outnumber die hard mls fans 1,000,000 to 1) wont give a crap anymore. those are the ppl who pay the bills. 80 esc members or 60 ppl wearing blue at kc wizards games beating drums are not the ones who pay the bills.

  25. y not let him go and sign a 1 1/2 yr deal at Milan and then come back to the Galaxy? Then when he comes back he could not be a DP and take a pay cut. If he would be willing to take a pay cut then it would show that he is really hear to make the league grow. If not then we will see his true colors and know that all it was, was a payday and show him the door. The MLS does not need David Beckham and he doesnt need the MLS but together they can make great things happen for a long time to come.

  26. Beckham’s biggest effect was on consciousness. He raised the consciousness of MLS. That will not decline with the leaving of Beckham, since it was not in any way related to his actual play on the field. It was something far greater. MLS has been stamped into the minds of millions of people who had never heard of it before. Now the league needs to build on that foot in the door by increasing quality through raising the cap and bringing in better players.

  27. time wasted? No. He has brought some exposure, money, and caused a paradigm shift (if temporarily) for other players who have come, and fans who have begun to pay more attention. Not to mention money.

    Achieve what he publicly set out to do? Not really. He hasn’t really grown the sport, or established a secure foundation for soccer’s success. He still has that ability to achieve it. Not if he leaves.

    Adverse affect on the MLS? Possibly. If he stays, achieves a title with the Galaxy, helps grow MLS through his influence for a longer term effect, then others will see MLS more positive. Leaving now reinforces that his time was a mistake for him (and others like him who might be contemplating it)

  28. I say let him go already. He accomplished his end of the deal — generating exposure for the league. Not only that but Beckhamania is wearing off. There were 60,000+ at the first match in Giants Stadium. For the second match there were 40,000 and change. He’s happy at Milan. Leave him be.

    Bring in the next great DP (e.g. Henry, Deco, Anelka, Ronaldo)

  29. I hope Beckham come back to MLS; even though he hasn’t done anything productive football wise, he does help the league in the market. More americans now watch MLS ’cause of him, and possibly ’cause of him, MLS get an International deal with [MP & Silva]. With more people watching the league both locally and internationally, the more they will invest in it and more talent will be discovered.

  30. Wait a minute, AC Milan is not playing in the Champions League but playing in the UEFA Cup??


    Of course I knew, but it’s so funny to hear it. How ridiculous.

  31. With Donovan and Beckham gone, and all that cash and opportunity – I see the Gals challenging for the title in two years.

    Very good for them.

    The best teams in this league feature the Rolfes, De Rosarios and Parkhursts, not the Beckhams…

  32. The bulk of the gains from the Beckham signing have been realized already. If Milan is willing to shell out the $$ for him, and he’s happier there, let him go. I can only tip my hat to him – he showed the league great respect by his play here. He played hard, played to win, and carried himself as a pro should.

  33. Regarding Soumare’s comments, from my experiences overseas, yes people know MLS because of Beckham, but ALL they know of MLS is Beckham. And once he’s gone, they will again know nothing about MLS.

    And it’s not like people all over the world are watching Galaxy matches in any signifcant numbers. And they certainly won’t without Beckham.

    I do agree with the general sentiment of the article, however.


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