Beckham quits LA Galaxy. Will he move to Australia or Celtic?
Guessing game begins as Becks hunts 'last challenge' before he hangs up his boots
DAVID BECKHAM is to quit LA Galaxy next month after five-and-a-half years with the American club. But the former England midfielder has scotched rumours that he is set to retire from the game by insisting that he "wanted to experience one last challenge" before hanging up his boots.
He announced that he was leaving Galaxy in a statement on the club's website, in which he said he had enjoyed an "incredibly special time" with the team. His last game will be the season-ending MLS Cup final on 1 December.
In his six seasons with Galaxy, Beckham scored 18 goals in 98 appearances and was instrumental in helping the club win the 2011 MLS Championship. "In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year," he said. "I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in LA and across the States. Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country and I want to always be part of growing it."
Beckham has made it clear he wants to maintain his links with MLS and one day become part owner of an American team. But before that happens there is speculation about just what his "last challenge" as a footballer will be.
The Sun is not alone in speculating that the 37-year-old could join other veterans, including Emile Heskey and Alessandro Del Piero, plying their trade in Australia's A-League.
The New Zealand Herald suggests that Wellington Phoenix, who play in the Australian league, are also keen on him. However, the New Zealand prime minister John Key did the club no favours when he recently described Beckham as "thick as batshit".
Reuters says that Beckham's age and injury record now count against him. "It is hard to imagine him being recruited by a top European team," it said. "However the Englishman's noted ability to grab media attention, sell merchandise and boost attendances while still curling in his trademark free-kicks and spraying cross field passes, makes him an attractive proposition for an emerging club or league looking for a marketing breakthrough."
In addition to Australia, where Melbourne Heart appear to be at the front of the queue to sign him, he has been linked to the Chinese league, where Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka now play, or a move to a smaller English club.
An intriguing report in iSports Times even links Becks with a move to the Scottish Premier League champions Celtic. Their story appears to be based on little more than a rumour that another LA-based celebrity, rapper-turned-reggae-artist Snoop Dogg, might be interested in investing in the club.