Beckham plans for star role in another galaxy but wants to leave a winner

David Beckham is preparing to leave LA Galaxy and wants to go out on a high.

His contract at the Californian club is about to expire and he expects the MLS Cup final against Houston Dynamo in the early hours of tomorrow to be his last game for them.

Victory would make him only the second Englishman, after Trevor Steven, to win a title in three countries.

Farewell kiss: Beckham is hoping to go out of America on a high in the MLS final

Farewell kiss: Beckham is hoping to go out of America on a high in the MLS final

Steven won championships with Everton, Marseille and Rangers.

A one-year contract extension is on the table for Beckham but having already collected league winner's medals at Manchester United and Real Madrid, the former England captain is tempted by pastures new.

Beckham has been based in Los Angeles for more than four years and his time in the American game has been hailed a great success but Paris St-Germain and the British Olympic team have caught his eye now.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, for one, believes it is the right time for Major League Soccer to plan ahead after the good work his former midfielder has done.

Good for each other: Keane and Beckham

Good for each other: Keane and Beckham

'America are looking to the future and a few of the teams are starting academies now,' said Ferguson.

'Some of them are quite successful. College football is fine but it's not a stepping stone to the big league. It's got its own importance, it's not a breeding ground for players.'

Beckham has helped put MLS on the world map. The league may not be considered of the highest quality yet, but the biggest name at the Galaxy has raised awareness of the game in America and helped attract players such as Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane to clubs there.

'He's definitely given it a profile, no question,' said Ferguson.

On the run: Beckham wants to leave LA Galaxy a winner

On the run: Beckham wants to leave LA Galaxy a winner

'It took him a little bit of time to adjust to the American game. I told him they're very athletic in America, "they're fit as hell and it won't be a cakewalk for you", and he found that. But over the last couple of years he's done really well. Football in America is improving. When we went to the Seattle Sounders there was a fantastic atmosphere.

'David has played a major part in developing the game over there, also the likes of Henry, who are in the twilight of their careers but have something to offer still.'

Beckham's departure would be a blow to MLS after he overcame early injury problems and conflicts of interest to shine.

The league's commissioner, Don Garber, admits Beckham's impact has surpassed expectations.

'I underestimated the power of his celebrity by a long shot,' said Garber.

'We underestimated the challenge of Beckham playing for England and we didn't expect his desire to go out on loan to AC Milan.

Up for the cup: Beckham has lifted the profile of the MLS

Up for the cup: Beckham has lifted the profile of the MLS

'But I also underestimated how hard-working and tough he is. He will play through injury and fatigue. That warrior-like mentality was like nobody expected. He's been great for our league and for our game.'

Beckham has been good for Keane, too, and the former Tottenham striker hopes he will change his mind about leaving.

'It has been brilliant to play with David and hopefully it might continue,' said Keane.

'I already knew coming here how good he would be to play with. He trained with us at Spurs last season and it was obvious then how much he still had to offer as a world-class player.

'I've enjoyed my time with David. He has looked out for me here, on and off the field, and it would be great to win this cup with him now.'



Monday Nov 21, 2.30am

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