Reuters: David Beckham’s decision to spurn lucrative club offers in Europe and return to the LA Galaxy on a fresh two-year contract was an easy one to make, the former England captain said on Thursday.
The needs of his family had always been paramount in any choice about his future playing career and Beckham was quite happy to turn his back on deals from Paris St. Germain and “one or two” English teams.
“It was kind of easy, yeah,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder told Reuters after being formally presented with his new number 23 shirt at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
“At my age, just to have the offers I had thrown at me in the last couple of months, you have to look at all options. And I did but the most important thing for us always was where our family are happy, where we are happy living.
“For the last five years, we’ve had an amazing time living here in Los Angeles, with me working here, and our children are happy. So that was the biggest part of our decision.”
Beckham, who lives in the glitzy surrounds of Beverly Hills with his wife Victoria and four children, said his decision to re-join the Galaxy was finalised on New Year’s Eve in London.
“I sat down with my family, my wife and I had a glass of wine, and it was made then,” the 36-year-old added. “There was a lot of speculation going on but we wanted to continue our life in Los Angeles. We were just too happy to leave.”
Beckham’s much trumpeted American adventure began in 2007 when he joined the Galaxy from Real Madrid amid a wave of publicity on a five-year, $32.5 million deal.
Initially criticised 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, he finally gave Galaxy fans everything they wanted last year.
The team won the MLS Cup on November 20 with victory over the Houston Dynamo and Beckham, who was voted on to the MLS Best XI, finished the season second in the league for assists.
Had he chosen to end his Galaxy career at that point, he would have done so on a high and perhaps with the chance to add a Ligue 1 trophy to the league honours he had already won in England, Spain and the U.S. if he had accepted the Paris St. Germain offer.
“I am a very passionate person about playing the game so of course every offer that comes in like that is tempting,” Beckham, wearing a black suit, white shirt and a maroon-and-white striped tie, smiled. “But my family is more important to me than anything else and I wanted them to be happy and I wanted them to be settled and this is where they are happy and most settled.”
Asked if he had unfinished business to complete in the U.S. where he not only plays for the Galaxy but also works as an MLS ambassador, Beckham replied: “There is a lot more to do here. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back because I do feel the job is just getting started.
“After five years here to see the growth, to see the new franchises that have come into this league, to see the interest grow, to see the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United come over to America and play their pre-season games, there is real interest here.
“I want to be a part of that going forward.”
Beckham, the biggest soccer name to move to the U.S. since greats Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff in the 1970s, said the quality of the MLS game had improved significantly since his arrival.
“In the first couple of years there were certain parts of it that were frustrating but in the last year or two, you’ve got the likes of Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, and Rafa Marquez all coming here,” he added.
“They’re great players with a lot of talent, so the level is definitely going up. Everybody knows that I have the option of owning a franchise here and that excites me. So I don’t want to leave, I didn’t want to leave and I am happy to stay.”