David Beckham is all over the TV, the web and in the newsstands, from a Sport Illustrated cover (is the omen good or bad on this one?) to the CNN ticker and Fox Sports focused shows.
Really though, how is he going to feel when he’s playing against stadium sharing Chivas, as compared to playing against Barcelona at the Camp Nou or against Liverpool while at Real Madrid and Manchester United respectively? The derby is a new concept in the US, the word itself.
But I guess that’s why he’s here. That’s what he wants: to build something and to help grow a league and take it to the next level—that’s the challenge he wants. More prophet than player.
But Beckham, who’s really at the peak of his playing ability, how is he going to be satisfied playing in the MLS—will the intensity be there? Will his just being in the MLS lift everyone else’s game? They’ll player harder because they’re playing against Beckham, someone they respect, and because he’s earning more than their entire team?
Beckham is a class player, and having overcome so much recently I have even more respect for him. First, the coach says he’s not going to play again for Real Madrid, and Beckham, the true professional plays diligently in practice and gets his chance as Real Madrid continue to lose games while he’s benched. Then, he scores on his debut from the instilled purgatory, a free kick deflection, and helps lead the team to a La Liga title, with his friends Tom and Katie in the stands–having I’m sure never experienced anything so passionate an event as that game.
I’ve heard that Capello said shipping out Ronaldo was integral to their success and the worst mistake was dismissing Beckham. Ronaldo was uninspiring in the locker room and at practice —there was a drag on the team. Capello instilled the work ethic into the team again when he came on board and Beckham is all about doing the work, pleasing fans.
Furthermore, England cut him and then called him back. Now he’ll be flying across the globe to fulfill his international duties again. There’s only one David Beckham and the MLS couldn’t have asked for a better series of events.
Someone said that that will take some getting used to, flying from LA to New York rather than from Madrid to Sevilla. Becks going to spend a lot of time in the air.
In one of Beckham’s Adidas commercials he mentions how he was booed and dismissed by the fans after his red card against Argentina in the World Cup, and how he overcame that. He’s used to the ups and downs. He knows that if he plays well on the pitch and wins, that’s all that matters, that’s all the fans want. I think he’ll bring that professionalism and toughness to the MLS—his image is one thing but he can play through tough times.
I heard that over 1500 journalists were at the stadium when Beckham was introduced. It’s an amazing show, the Becks show, and Posh will have a TV special on soon I believe, a one hour reality show. What’s different about these stars, they’re a bit king and queen but also not too full of themselves. What I mean is they’re used to the lime light, like the lime light, like the red carpet. And I think they have a bit more of a sense of humor. Some kind of Englishness let’s say—tongue in cheek, revered but honest somehow, used to be watch and looked at.
Someone said that if Derek Jeter and one of his girlfriends decided to move to Japan and play baseball, there’d be an equivalent kind of swarm of media, and it might bring in more young and new baseball fans to the park. However, I don’t know if there’s anyone that can duplicate a Beckham—his wife is a starlet too, there used to the show and like it. He’s known around the world. Real Madrid and Manchester United used his image to promote their teams all over Asia—the MLS just bought a shirt buying factory.
But with any sport, what drives the machine is the young players, and a generational kind of following of the sport. Here, in America, that’s been introduced from immigrants moving here—and more so by Hispanics, who’s son’s play and follow the team because their dad’s did. And, it takes time to build up rivalries and for people to understand the term ‘derby’ and for teams to get demoted when they’re at the bottom of the table. When will that come into play? That’ll create some intensity.
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