The saga is finally over. David Beckham will extend his loan stay at Italian giants AC Milan and won't therefore be back in the MLS with the LA Galaxy until July. That means no trip to DSG Park for the Galaxy game against the Colorado Rapids in April. The 4-0 thumping of LA by the Rapids on opening day last year could therefore be the only time the Rocky Mountain faithful will ever get to see the England superstar, one brief appearance at the 2007 All-Star game excepted.
What very few people seem to emphasize about this whole episode is that Beckham was on a very poor LA team. The chemistry was bad and the locker room atmosphere was reportedly terrible. Add to that a poor coaching choice in Ruud Gullit and it was a recipe for disaster. You can't really blame Beckham for wanting to stay at AC Milan with the likes of Maldini, Kaka et al. He is a very ambitious professional who remains super fit and wants to play for England at the World Cup next year. Playing with such greats at Milan clearly helps him with that. You just get the feeling, however, that, if he had been with a better run team in the MLS, the dilemma would not have been so difficult. It is going to be very tough for him to come back to LA because the fans may not be all that forgiving. Whatever the rights and wrongs of his decision, the perception with some is that he has turned his back on a signed contract and was only ever interested in money. I don't subscribe to that point of view but many do.
Here is a good link below on the BBC website. Steve Nichol, the New England coach, is clearly overstating the importance of Beckham to the MLS while Ivan Gazidis has to say what he does. He's not going to admit that Beckham's absence is a disaster for the MLS, is he? Check out the thoughts of Andrei Markovits. The aimiable professor (I met him once at DU) manages to combine academia and soccer. Not a bad combination.