Beckham ’absolutely no plans’ to play in Australia
LONDON - The Associated Press
David Beckham. AP PhotoDavid Beckham’s management company says the former England captain has no plans to play in Australia, disputing claims today by the country’s football federation that talks had already started.
Football Federation Australia said on Friday it received an approach by an agent representing the 37-year-old Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder to play some matches with an A-League team this season.
Despite FFA claiming that talks were at a "preliminary stage," Beckham’s representatives denied it.
"There is always enormous interest from clubs across the world in signing David as a player," Beckham’s management company said in a statement. "There are absolutely no plans to play in Australia. David is completely focused on the MLS playoffs and winning another championship with the Galaxy."
Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007 after a career at Manchester United and Real Madrid turned him into one of football’s biggest stars.
He signed a two-year deal with the Galaxy in January, but has yet to commit to playing next season in Major League Soccer. The current campaign ends in two weeks.
The denial from Beckham’s representatives came after FFA chief executive David Gallop went public with details of the apparent direct talks to bring him to Australia on a short-term basis.
"I spoke to the player’s agent today and said to him it would be fantastic," Gallop told Australian broadcaster Fox Sports. "There would be some hoops to jump through. Clubs need to come forward and be the first point of contact.
"What we’re thinking about is a guest stint. It would be fantastic but we’re not getting ahead of ourselves at this point. The most I can say is we are talking about a 10-game guest stint and obviously that might whet his appetite to come back."
The profile of Australia’s league has been raised by the arrivals this year of former Juventus forward Alessandro Del Piero (Sydney FC) and former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey (Newcastle).
Mark Bosnich, Beckham’s former teammate at Manchester United, said the A-League should pull out all the stops to secure the star.
"There’s a golden opportunity right now to secure David’s services in Australia, not just for 10 games but for a considerable period of time," said Bosnich, now an A-League television commentator.
"Let’s do everything we can to make it happen," the goalkeeper added. "There’s a small window of opportunity with these things and you’ve got to ... seize the day, so to speak."
Bosnich said Beckham was still capable of performing at the top level.
"He’s in outstanding condition, and if there’s anyone you would want in your team to have the ball when you’re 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go away from home, it’s David Beckham," Bosnich said.
Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou said his team would not be interested in signing Beckham, but Perth Glory chief executive Paul Kelly said he would.
"I know he’s being touted around, but there’s been no conversation," Kelly said. "As usual, I’ll always say I’m happy to speak to anyone."