November 2011: Beckham and LA Galaxy achieve their dream

When it was finally achieved, tears flowed. David Beckham hoisted aloft the large Cup of the Major League Soccer, MLS, and together with his colleagues celebrated the third championship title for Los Angeles Galaxy. The 1-0 (0-0) win over Houston Dynamo in the final for the North American professional football title on November 20 was yet another highlight in the career of the 36-year-old. “I am overjoyed to have achieved the aim. We have fought so many years for this title”, said the Englishman. The commentators from Europe who had watched the match at Home Depot Center in Carson, southern California, alluded that the mighty Beckham had gained more important titles with his European clubs, Manchester United and Real Madrid. In no way was that a wrong assessment, but winning the MLS championship still was a special feat for “Becks”. King Beckham finally acceded to the throne in possibly his last “American” match after five years in the Major League Soccer.

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In his fifth year with Los Angeles Galaxy, David Beckham finally achieves his aim: He is a champion of the Major League Soccer. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


In previous years Galaxy, whose third title followed wins in 2002 und 2005, had failed regularly despite being listed always among the favourites. The year 2011, however, went perfectly with everything just right with Galaxy. The team concluded the regular season of 34 matches as the undisputed leaders among the 18 teams from the USA and Canada, and remained undefeated in the play-offs. Beckham played a key part in this success, regaining his best form to stand out as one of the League’s best players and was voted the “Comeback Player of the Year”. This referred to his ruptured Achilles’ tendon in the spring of 2010. He achieved 18 assists and saved a notable performance for the final.

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David Beckham and Landon Donovan with the MLS Cup after Los Angeles Galaxy’s 1-0 final victory over Houston Dynamo. (Photo: Getty Images)


Will Beckham soon join Paris St. Germain?

Afterwards there came the customary questions about the future of the 115-capped England international. In 2009 and 2010 he played with AC Milan until the end of the year, thus bridging the MLS break from December until spring. Now his contract has expired, he can sign with any club in the world. There are several clubs in Europe who would like him. After all Beckham is, and has been, one of football’s superstars. He is one of the most prominent personalities with worldwide charisma and phenomenal advertising potential, which has helped make him the highest paid football professional in the world. Paris St. Germain, with a lot of money from Arab sources and run by former Milan coach Leonardo are interested in signing “Becks”. Many newspapers immediately speculated that David and his wife Victoria, the former Spice Girl, were already orientating themselves with the French capital.  Victoria, alias Posh Spice and the equally famous member of this glamorous couple, could find Paris more appealing than David. Their sons Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo, and daughter Harper will possibly have to adjust to a move. However, Galaxy would also like to keep Beckham.

“Becks” move back to Europe possible

Beckham said location did not matter when quizzed as to whether Paris could be an ideal new home for him. As a football player sporting aspects would always take priority. It was also reported that English clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur and Queens Park Rangers would be interested in contracting Beckham, who grew up near London. “I shall examine everything in time. I have always decided on clubs with whom I could achieve something”. He won six English titles with Manchester United, the Champions League and the World Club Championship. With Real Madrid he took the Spanish title. Beckham, who will turn 37 on May 2, knows that he no longer is as fit as he was at 25 and 28. But the passes, crosses and free kicks with his legendary right foot remain at world class level.

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Landon Donovan beats Tally Hall, Houston Dynamo’s goalkeeper, to score the decisive goal for LA Galaxy’s 1-0 victory. (Photo: Getty Images)


But it was his header in the MLS final which assisted the winning goal, despite him being slightly impeded by muscular problems. Galaxy’s top star trio achieved the golden goal in the 72nd minute against Houston. Beckham fed Irishman Robbie Kean with the header, who brilliantly passed the ball on to striker Landon Donovan. The former Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich player netted the ball over Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall to make it 1-0. Afterwards Beckham dominated the discussions, but Donovan was elected the Most Valuable Player of the final. He performed brilliantly during the season and scored 20 goals.

Besides the players another person, also very well-known in Europe, greatly contributed to winning the title. Bruce Arena, the former US national coach, gained his third MLS title after winning with D.C. United in 1996 and 1997. With Los Angeles, Arena bettered the Colorado Rapids, the surprising champions in 2010, who had failed to make the play-offs for the best eight teams this year. “We have achieved a great success”, Arena said. “David played very well. He is an outstanding player”. The Briton’s highly remunerated contract with Galaxy and the MLS expires on December 31. Beckham has undoubtedly contributed to greater national and international recognition for the Major League Soccer. He played 84 of the possible 152 matches in five years. Galaxy benefited, but also the entire MLS which consistently raised its average attendance and increased television coverage. If Beckham leaves the MLS, the League will lose its greatest attraction.