David Beckham has had one of the most impressive careers possible for a footballer. He has graced the field with three of the largest clubs in the world, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and AC Milan. He has brought immense popularity of the sport to America as he spent the last five years with the LA Galaxy. He has made over 100 appearances for the English national team and has played in 3 World Cups, captaining the side on two of those occasions.
Now, after Beckham helped guide the Galaxy to an MLS cup victory, attention has turned to where Beckham will play next, if anywhere at all. His past 5 years will inevitably be declared a success following the MLS Cup victory, but this was the final year of his audacious deal. He is now 36 years of age and probably only has one more contract in his lifetime before it is his time to hang up the boots. This decision will take some time and will be very difficult for him to make.
There are really two options for the England superstar. He can stay in Los Angeles or move to a European club. Since expressing a desire to play for England in the 2012 Olympic Games being held in London, Beckham will need to find a great club and have regular playing time to express his talents before the summer selection is made. Everyone would be terribly surprised if he were to retire now.
I also would be quite astonished to see him remain in the MLS. Although he has finished this year and his contract as a champion, his 5 year period with the Galaxy was anything but that. He was repeatedly injured and missed significant chunks of time. Furthermore, his two loan spells with AC Milan largely interrupted the early portion of the MLS season and resulted in further injuries. He never seemed to really take heart to the MLS until this season, and I predict he will want to leave so he can play in more prestigious matches in the European leagues.
A return to the MLS as a part owner of a club has been speculated, and he has expressed interest in the possibility. It would be a smart investment as the MLS continues to look towards expanding and the sport’s popularity is growing tremendously. Perhaps David Beckham will continue his support of American soccer from the owner’s box.
One potential club thought to be interested in Beckham was London based Tottenham. He spent the early months of 2011 training with the side and rumors swirled that he was pushing a transfer to the club. Tottenham has become quite successful in recent seasons and took place in the UEFA Champions’ League last year. Playing back in London would also be attractive to the Englishman but talk has quieted since manager Harry Redknapp expressed doubts over whether Beckham would receive very much playing time. The team is too energetic and youthful, and Beckham is frankly becoming too old. This option seemingly has faded from likelihood, and Beckham himself has stated that it would be odd to play for anyone other than Manchester United in England.
Another club reportedly interested in Beckham is French team, PSG who are based in Paris. The star has enjoyed playing for teams in hip, star-filled cities and Paris would provide exactly what he and his celebrity wife, Posh Spice, would crave. PSG is one of the clubs that has recently come under ownership of wealthy Middle Easterners. The new Qatari owners have shown they are willing to front up the cash to buy big players, having spent 42 million Euro’s on Argentinean star, Javier Pastore this past summer. Recent reports suggest that the club has begun negotiations with David Beckham and this emerging club could be the perfect fit. He would get some legitimate playing time for a club that is going places.
Another factor Beckham may consider is that PSG’s director of football, Leonardo, was the manager of AC Milan during Beckham’s loan spell in Italy. Their relationship could help bring the Englishman to the club. PSG would also benefit greatly from the move. Nobody doubts that Beckham is a franchise in himself. His PSG jersey sales alone would greatly ease the financial burden on the new owners. He is still arguably the most marketable player on the planet and his arrival would help the team just as much off the field than on it.
A heartfelt return to Manchester United seems doubtful. He no longer has the ability that he once did. He would only be a hindrance to the side that seems to have all their bases covered. Perhaps he could follow in Sir Alex Ferguson’s footsteps as a manager of the club someday, but I fear he will never grace Old Trafford as a player again.
Whatever David Beckham decides to do, there is no doubt that he has had a distinguished and amazing professional career. In my opinion, he will go back to Europe, with PSG currently leading the chase. The 36 year old clearly has some wanderlust in his blood and he will likely want to ply his trade somewhere new for one last hurrah. Enjoy some highlights of Beckham's prestigious career:
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org