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Lalas Thinks Beckham ‘may not return to MLS’

Former LA Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas said he would not be surprised if David Beckham were not to return to America after his loan with AC Milan. The England midfielder’s stint with the Italian club ends in March, when the Major League Soccer season resumes.

Lalas, who in 2007 signed Beckham on a five-year contract with the Galaxy, told BBC Radio 5 Live:

“If I was still at the Galaxy, yes, I’d fear it. He has to do what he feels is appropriate for his career.”

Beckham played for 45 minutes on his Milan debut as the Serie A giants beat Hamburg 4-3 on penalties in Dubai on Tuesday. The 33-year-old joined Milan in a bid to prove his fitness and regain his England place after being told by England manager Fabio Capello that inactivity during the MLS off-season would result in his likely omission from the next squad.

Lalas feared that the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player would not want to return to the MLS after playing in a star-studded line-up featuring the likes of Ronaldinho, and Kaka.

However, the former USA defender added that Beckham’s “desire to prove people wrong” after an uninspiring first two seasons in the MLS hampered by injury may entice the midfielder back across the Atlantic.

“I think he wants to do well with the Galaxy but you only have one career,” said Lalas. “The experience he’s going to have at Milan will benefit him individually, how much it benefits the Galaxy and the people that are ultimately paying the majority of his wages remains to be seen. “He’s back in his comfort zone at AC Milan, playing with one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a tremendous amount of talent around him, with incredible money out there on the field so it must be, in a weird way for him, a relief to get out there.”

Lalas, who played for Padova in Serie A, insisted LA Galaxy and the MLS would survive the post-Beckham era.

“Any manager, to a certain extent, wants David Beckham on their team but I also think David Beckham is not bigger than the Galaxy, nor is he bigger than Major League Soccer,” said Lalas. “The Galaxy will go on and do tremendous things, as will Major League Soccer, well beyond David Beckham’s time. The Galaxy will survive without David Beckham, whether that is three years from now or three months from now. Either way, they will survive. I hope he comes back rejuvenated, but I also hope it doesn’t catch up with him in the middle of the season if he does come back to MLS, that’s a danger and that’s something I’d be wary of.”

Am I the only one who is sick of the David Beckham saga already? I was really excited when he came to MLS, but this whole Milan will he go or will he stay deal is just one big soap opera and I am not looking forward to covering it for the next two months until he is supposed to come back to MLS.

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  • Randall Hall January 9, 2009, 5:08 am

    I agree with you on all fronts Dave. When Becks first came to America, part of me was excited that he could perhaps spur some quality interest in the US league, a league I cherish, but part of me also feared that if the “Beckham Experiment” was a failure there would be dire consequences for all of MLS. Now, the latter scenario appears to be unfolding in a slow, torturous manner and I am worried Beckham could end up discouraging other international greats from playing in the US. Yes, our league is not Serie A. But he knew that when he signed up. His desire to break the England caps record has seemingly become his only priority. I used to like him and defend him and I am sick and tired of it. I am ready to move on, the question is whether he is…

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