MLS chief says Beckham has 'delivered'

Updated: 2011-11-11 10:04


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MLS chief says Beckham has 'delivered'
Los Angeles Galaxy forward Mike Magee (18) celebrates scoring a goal with midfielder David Beckham (L) and forward Robbie Keane against Real Salt Lake during the second half of their MLS western conference playoff soccer game in Carson, California, Nov 6, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]

MIAMI - David Beckham's five years in Major League Soccer (MLS) have "delivered on all aspects", commissioner Don Garber said on Thursday, adding that he hopes the England international will stay on in the league.

Beckham's original five-year deal with the LA Galaxy concludes after the Nov 20 MLS Cup final between his club and the Houston Dynamo and the 36-year-old midfielder has yet to decide whether to return.

"I certainly hope to see him back," said Garber, who added he could not however predict if Beckham would return.

"David, (his personal manager) Simon Fuller and Tim Leiweke of (Galaxy owners) AEG will go through a process after the Cup to try to determine what David's future is but I certainly hope to have him back," Garber said on a teleconference call.

Former Manchester United midfielder Beckham joined the Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007 amid a wave of publicity, signing a league record $6 million a year contract with MLS hoping his high-profile would attract bigger crowds, more sponsors and more mainstream media attention.

"David has delivered for us on all aspects of our expectations, both on and off the field. David had a terrific year this year. It would be hard to argue that he wasn't one of the most important players on our fields and really contributed to his team and to the league competitively," said Garber.

"Off the field, he continues to be an important part of what drives some of the popularity of our league both here and around the world.

"He remains a very popular guy. His presence on the sports pages but also on the 'people pages' continues to grow as opposed to wane here in America and we benefit from that.

"MLS wouldn't be what it is today if David didn't decide to come and play in Major League Soccer. All of us appreciate everything that he has done," Garber said.

Beckham criticism

Beckham has, however, faced criticism for his decision to travel back to Europe for England commitments and for his loan move to AC Milan in Italy, which ended in a serious injury.

That Achilles tendon injury wrecked his contribution to the Galaxy last season and cost him a place in England's World Cup squad at the 2010 World Cup.

"It hasn't been perfect - I don't think any relationship is ever perfect, there were certainly some things we might have done a little differently - but all in all it has been really a big success," said Garber.

"We measure David's success very quantitatively. Galaxy games on the road have our highest average attendance, with a few exceptions the L.A. Galaxy are our highest rated team on television, L.A Galaxy kit sales are among the highest and without a doubt there is more attention for David off the sports pages than any other MLS player.

"I travel quite a bit outside of the United States on football-related business and people seem to ask about two things - when are the Cosmos coming into Major League Soccer and how is David Beckham doing?"