For the first time today, Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said publicly he wants to leave the Carson-based team and join A.C. Milan for good:
“I have expressed my desire to stay at AC Milan now, and it’s just down to Milan and Galaxy to come to an agreement,” he said. “”I’ve said what my feelings are to both clubs.”
Naturally, the Galaxy aren’t talking.
Below is the story that will appear in the newspaper Thursday.
From staff and news reports
David Beckham wants to leave the Galaxy and stay with AC Milan after his stay with the Italian team ends next month.
The English midfielder announced his intentions Wednesday after playing in Milan’s 2-2 tie at Glasgow Rangers in Glasgow, Scotland.
Beckham has played well with the Italian club during his three-month loan, which is up March 8.
“At the moment my lawyers are not talking to the Galaxy,” Beckham said. “But I have expressed my desire to stay at AC Milan now, and it’s just down to Milan and Galaxy to come to an agreement.”
“I have enjoyed my time here,” he added. “I knew I would enjoy it but I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I have and do as well as I have.”
Beckham is about two years into a $32.5 million, five-year contract with Major League Soccer. The Galaxy had no immediate comment.
“At this point it’s out of my hands,” the 33-year-old star said. “I’ve said what my feelings are to both clubs.”
Since coming to Italy, Beckham has scored twice and helped to lift Milan to second place in the Serie A standings.
Beckham has five goals over parts of two seasons with the Galaxy.
“At the moment I’m still a Galaxy player,” he said. “I respect the Galaxy and everything they have done for me. They have always been great to me.”
Beckham wants to maintain his place on the England national team and play at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Before joining AC Milan, he said playing in Italy against top-flight international competition would allow him to stay in shape.
“To be given the chance again to play at this level at my age is pretty incredible and I’ve enjoyed it so much I would like to continue it,” he said. “I think people have seen the way I’ve been since playing at this level again.”
“It’s nothing against the MLS and the football over there because it’s a game that will grow, but it will take quite a few years,” he added. “I’m still confident that will happen eventually, but I want to have a chance of being involved in 2010 and I believe my best chance of doing so is to remain here.”
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has avoided the recent speculation that Beckham would try to get out of his MLS contract.
“I’m expecting him to be coming back here and having a full season and that he’s healthy and he plays well,” Arena said last week.
After two seasons of Beckham-induced upheaval, which included a third consecutive non-playoff season, the Galaxy appear to be on another collision course with some turmoil.
Added to the mix is that Landon Donovan, the top goal scorer in MLS last season, doesn’t appear to be headed back from his loan to Bayern Munich either.
“I don’t have a gut feeling as to whether I’m going to be teammates with (Donovan and Beckham) this year,” veteran Galaxy defender Chris Klein said last week. “Each situation is different. I’ve spoken to Landon and he’s made very public his desire to stay there. As a friend, I want what’s best for him and he is playing very well. And Bayern Munich is one of the best clubs in the world. Would I fault him or would I fault David for wanting to stay or exploring the opportunity? No.”
“But I also understand from an MLS standpoint and an L.A. Galaxy standpoint, we have needs too and those are two of the best players in our league and who wouldn’t want to have them?”