David Beckham said he’ll weigh some “exciting options” for the final challenge of his soccer playing career once his six-year U.S. stint ends next month.
Beckham, 37, announced two days ago that the Dec. 1 Major League Soccer championship game will be his last competitive match for the Los Angeles Galaxy, sparking a global race to sign the former England captain.
Beckham said his immediate focus is on helping the Galaxy beat the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Cup and that he hasn’t decided on his next move with clubs in Australia, Brazil, China, France and Russia all said to be interested in acquiring him.
“There are options and I am very lucky at my age to have options,” Beckham said in televised comments in Los Angeles yesterday. “My decision will be made around December or in the New Year, but right now I can’t even comment on it.”
Beckham’s management last week denied he had any plans to play in Australia after the country’s soccer federation said it had been approached about the possibility.
Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart said yesterday they are still interested in bringing him to the A-League, where ex-Italy forward Alessandro Del Piero and Beckham’s former England teammate Emile Heskey are playing this season.
A posting on Perth’s Twitter account said that “the race is on” following Beckham’s announcement that he will leave the Galaxy, while Heart Chief Executive Officer Scott Munn said his team would put forward a “compelling offer” to Beckham.
Paris Saint-Germain is among the clubs ready to make him an offer, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported. He’s also received approaches from Russia, China and Brazil, the BBC added, although he’d only go to a club where he’s assured a regular starting berth.
“I haven’t had any talks right now with anybody, but I do have exciting and some interesting options on the table,” Beckham said yesterday. “Over my career, I’ve had many rumors said about where I’m going to be playing, what teams I’m going to be joining, and even at 37 years old that’s not changed, so I’m sure that will continue to happen until I’ve made my decision.”
Beckham joined the Galaxy in January 2007 and helped the team win its third MLS championship last season. Although he signed a new two-year contract in January, it included an option on the second year.
His presence coincided with a period of unprecedented growth for the 17-year-old league, which has added seven clubs in the past six years while 15 of the 19 MLS teams now play in soccer-specific stadiums, up from five before 2007.
Beckham, who won league titles with Manchester United in England and Real Madrid in Spain before switching to the U.S., said he decided to leave the Galaxy because he had achieved everything he wanted with the club.
“I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old,” Beckham said. “Where that will be yet, I haven’t decided.”
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