David Beckham's five years in
Major League Soccer (MLS) have "delivered on all aspects",
commissioner Don Garber said on Thursday, adding that he hopes
the England international will stay on in the league.
Beckham's original five-year deal with the L.A Galaxy
concludes after the November 20 MLS Cup final between his club and
the Houston Dynamo and the 36-year-old midfielder has yet to
decide whether to return.
"I certainly hope to see him back," said Garber, who added
he could not however predict if Beckham would return.
"David, [his personal manager] Simon Fuller and Tim Leiweke
of [Galaxy owners] AEG will go through a process after the cup
to try to determine what David's future is but I certainly hope
to have him back," Garber said on a teleconference call.
Former Manchester United midfielder Beckham joined the
Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007 amid a wave of publicity,
signing a league record $6 million a year contract with MLS
hoping his high-profile would attract bigger crowds, more
sponsors and more mainstream media attention.
"David has delivered for us on all aspects of our
expectations, both on and off the field. David had a terrific
year this year. It would be hard to argue that he wasn't one of
the most important players on our fields and really contributed
to his team and to the league competitively," said Garber.
"Off the field, he continues to be an important part of
what drives some of the popularity of our league both here and
around the world.
"He remains a very popular guy. His presence on the sports
pages but also on the 'people pages' continues to grow as
opposed to wane here in America and we benefit from that.
"MLS wouldn't be what it is today if David didn't decide to
come and play in Major League Soccer. All of us appreciate
everything that he has done," Garber said.
Beckham has, however, faced criticism for his decision to
travel back to Europe for England commitments and for his loan
move to AC Milan in Italy, which ended in a serious injury.
That Achilles tendon injury wrecked his contribution to the
Galaxy last season and cost him a place in England's World Cup
squad at the 2010 World Cup.
"It hasn't been perfect - I don't think any relationship
is ever perfect, there were certainly some things we might have
done a little differently - but all in all it has been really
a big success," said Garber.
"We measure David's success very quantitatively. Galaxy
games on the road have our highest average attendance, with a
few exceptions the L.A. Galaxy are our highest rated team on
television, L.A Galaxy kit sales are among the highest and
without a doubt there is more attention for David off the
sports pages than any other MLS player.
"I travel quite a bit outside of the United States on
football-related business and people seem to ask about two
things - when are the Cosmos coming into Major League Soccer
and how is David Beckham doing?"
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