Galaxy has already lost Beckham

MORRIS DALLA COSTA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

There really is no longer any mystery surrounding the David Beckham saga. The moment Beckham and A.C. Milan found out he could still play, his stint with North American soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy was over.

If he had gone to Italy and not played well, he would have been back fulfilling the three years left on his contract.

To the surprise of many, no doubt Beckham included, the England midfielder is playing his best football in years.

His time in North America has hardly been marked by memorable play. He has often been injured. Like many older players who cash in on their status as one-time world-class players by finishing their careers in Canada and the United States, Beckham wasn't able to elevate his game to world-class status.

He still loves the game but how can you recreate the passion felt playing in front of 90,000 people in Wembley Stadium when you're stuck playing in Salt Lake or Kansas City?

After trying to be diplomatic about the situation, Beckham has gone from being happy to do whatever Milan and Los Angeles work out to wanting to stay in Milan. Milan wants him to stay. Fabio Capello, who manages England's national team, wants him to stay. The lawyers are working on it.

When it gets to that stage, it pretty much seals the deal.

The Galaxy do not have a chance.

Not that the Galaxy can't make it difficult for Beckham. They could refuse to make a deal that would send him to Milan. They could ask for an exorbitant amount of money to make the deal happen.

But the Galaxy recognize a lost cause. Who wants an unhappy player?

The Galaxy will do what they can to make the best deal possible for their football club and Major League Soccer in general, but Beckham has played his last game for the Galaxy.

Such is the bane of North American soccer. For soccer's best, it remains either the place to begin or the place to end a journey. It's rare that it acts as rehab for football stars.

The MLS is doing many right things that predecessor leagues have failed to do. It's careful of its spending. It's encouraging teams to develop young local players.

But bringing Beckham to North America was judicious. Yes, it was a lot of money but much of that reported $250 million contract was merchandizing and incentives.

In return, the MLS got headlines, headlines in the football press, in the sporting press and in the mainstream press.


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