Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Galaxy Land a Huge Star in Beckham

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Galaxy Land a Huge Star in Beckham

Article excerpt

Byline: By Martyn Ziegler

David Beckham is to leave Real Madrid and move to Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer after agreeing one of the richest deals in sport ( but the former England captain insists he is not going for the money, writes Martyn Ziegler.

Beckham will earn an astonishing pounds 128m ($250m) from his salary, image rights and sponsorship from the five-year deal ( that's almost pounds 500,000 a week.

The 31-year-old midfielder wants to use the final era of his playing career in Major League Soccer to attempt to transform football in the USA. His decision to turn his back on European football has seen him reject several bids from clubs in Britain and Italy, as well as the offer of a new two-year contract at Real Madrid.

Beckham said he wanted to join LA Galaxy now rather than in the twilight of his career. He said: "I don't want to go out to America at 34 with people saying he is only going for the money. I am going out to hopefully build a team which has a lot of potential, that's what excites me.

"Soccer in America is the biggest-played sport up to a certain age. That's where I want to take it to another level, I think it can go higher in America. There are so many great sports in the USA. Soccer is huge all around the world except in America and that's where I want to make a difference."

In terms of finances, Beckham's deal compares with the biggest in mainstream US sports. Baseball star Alex Rodriguez signed a $252m (pounds 129m) contract in 2000 with Texas Rangers, but that was over ten years. The MLS have recently changed salary cap rules to allow 'marquee signings' of top stars.

As well as his salary, the deal will see Beckham benefit directly from all his image rights and sponsorship deals associated with LA Galaxy. The unique agreement will also involve MLS directly, with the league paying for part of the deal. Beckham admitted it had been a tough decision and insisted he had no regrets about leaving Manchester United for Spain in July 2003, despite Real having failed to win a single honour since. He added: "It has been a huge decision of mine and my family. …

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