Last updated : 12 January 2007 By Editor
Despite his oft-stated intention to stay in Madrid, he manages to agree a deal with LA Galaxy just hours after deciding to leave Madrid. Oh, and the move isn't for the money…

From the Guardian:

David Beckham is set to become the highest earning sportsman in the US after signing a five-year contract worth up to $250m (£128m) with Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy.

The former England captain ended months of speculation yesterday by announcing that his largely unhappy three-year spell at Real Madrid will end in the summer, a move that signals the end of Beckham's career in top-flight football and any lingering ambition to regain the England place he lost when Steve McClaren replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson as head coach of the national side last summer.

The blow will be softened, however, by a weekly income of £500,000, comprised of salary, image rights and associated sponsorship, and the challenge of establishing the Beckham brand in a country that has thus far been largely unmoved by the rest of the world's favourite game.

Beckham said:

“Another challenge has come up and it is the right time for us to do it. I didn't want to go out there at 34 years old and for people to turn around and say he's only going there to get the money. It's not what I'm going out there to do.

“I'm going to hopefully build a club and a team that has a lot of potential. I think that is what excites me. Regrets? No. I have never had any regrets throughout my life and career and I never want to.

“After discussing several options with my family and my advisors to either stay here in Madrid or join other major British and European teams I have decided to join LA Galaxy and play in the Major League Soccer from August this year.

“I would like to thank supporters and the people of Madrid who have made my family and I so welcome in my time here making this an extremely difficult decision to make. I have enjoyed my time here enormously and I am extremely grateful to the club for giving me an opportunity to play for such a great team.

“I am proud to have played for two of the biggest clubs in football and I look forward to the new challenge of growing the world's most popular game in a country that is as passionate about its sport as my own.

“For the rest of this season I will continue to give 100% to my coach, team-mates and fans and I believe Fabio Capello will bring this club and its supporters the success they truly deserve.”

Ex-Red Terry Cooke, who now plays in the States, said:

“It's a disgrace. Obviously it's good for him, but we have a salary cap for each team of $1.9million for a roster of 28 players.

“I love Becks to bits. He's a great player - we lived together in Manchester - and it's not his fault, any player will get what he can get, and fair play to him. I just think the way the league is structured it's a disgrace.

“I heard the salary cap might be raised by a few hundred grand for next season. But even so, it doesn't matter who it is, you can't justify paying one player that sort of money.”