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$250 million for a past-his-prime, slow right-sided midfielder?

This is an official acknowledgment that Beckham’s actual career as a top-flight soccer player is over. He is now officially a celebrity, not a footballer, as they say in the UK.

It will also likely be the worst sports contract ever signed in the history of the USA, and could kill the league. Beckham commanded a huge salary at Real Madrid—‘tho nothing like this—because of his commercial potential. LA is signing him just as his commercial value is collapsing! None of the major European teams are even interested in him for that—much less his playing ability, or lack thereof. They could’ve got him for 1/5 of the cost—or free, since he and the missus want to be Hollywood movie stars, let them pay their own fucking way.

This could bankrupt the LA Galaxy, and set off a bidding war among other teams, which killed the old North American Soccer League back in the 70’s and 80’s after the New York Cosmos brought in Pele—who could at least play at a top level. Sheesh. Just when MLS was starting to turn the corner, based on sane finances.

Now another MLS team will probably sign his teammate Ronaldo, since he’s an overweight, slow has-been.

Posted by Sey | January 11, 2007 2:14 PM

Beckham is washed up, but I could see this being a boon for MLS.

Posted by Gabriel | January 11, 2007 2:41 PM


My thoughts exactly. I'm sure Beckham is laughing all the way to the bank, while Fabio Capello is probably sighing in relief.

Posted by COMTE | January 11, 2007 2:49 PM

He’s clearly sold out. I mean he’s past his prime but that is hardly a reason to go to Major League Soccer where the play is at a level considerably below his ability. I keep thinking it’s some sort of Hollywood thing like when Shaq joined the Lakers so that he could make Kazaam.

On the other hand as soon as he opens his mouth, Hollywood may rethink using him to sell anything or to be an entertainer. Unless of course, he’s the Andy McDowell of sport and they get Glenn Close to dub his voice.

Vinnie Jones of course went Hollywood -- accent and all, but Vinnie doesn’t look like a Greek god.

Posted by Daranee | January 11, 2007 2:52 PM

Actually, I think that being past his prime is a great reason to go to MLS, where play is below Premiership standards. He'll look good in comparison, have a few decent years here, make a ton of money and have lots of American fans. I can't blame him.

Posted by Gabriel | January 11, 2007 3:02 PM

Also, does anyone know any news about Bruce Arena's replacement as USA coach? There were rumors of Sven-Goran Erickson, which makes one shudder.

Posted by Gabriel | January 11, 2007 3:04 PM

His face looks like a weasel, and an unattractive weasel at that.

Posted by Kim. | January 11, 2007 3:21 PM

Slow, washed up, looks like a WEASEL? WTF? The guy's an elite soccer player who has talent and experience ANY soccer player would be happy to have around, especially any American player. And, Google him for some additional images if you really think he looks like a weasel. Come on.

Posted by Amy Jo | January 11, 2007 3:36 PM

Weasel? I think someone's a little jealous of somebody's else's washboard abs...

So what's this about his voice? I've never heard him speak...

Posted by what? | January 11, 2007 4:17 PM

Elite soccer player? Then how come no elite teams are interested in signing him? None of the top teams in England want him, and it would be way too embarrassing for him to join a second-tier, unfashionable team like Bolton or Tottenham. Oh wait a minute. Tottenham has the guy who replaced him in the English national team. He can’t go there.

Soccer is way slower in the USA than in England or Spain, and he is experienced. He’ll be able to play in the middle of the field where he likes it the best, and do fine. He’d actually be a very good signing for $500,000 a year.

Posted by Sey | January 11, 2007 4:50 PM

Instead he gets $500,000 every few days; a million bucks a week. I agree with Sey (except for the digs at Spurs, who are fabulous, not unfashionable), but Gabriel's got a good point too: Becks going to look like an elite player again in the MLS (which he simply isn't in the real world anymore). So it will LOOK like a good signing.

But there's no way the Galaxy can seriously afford that, is there? What will happen is that other teams who can raise the $ will, if they are smart, sign ACTUAL elite players, if they can find any willing to play in MLS, for a lot less than Beckham got. And then they'll kick the Galaxy's ass.

But that means the US teams will be entering the global transfer market for real, where they have never been, and there's no way they can survive that way. The audience to pay the way isn't there. So: bankrupt.

Posted by Fnarf | January 11, 2007 4:59 PM

So long as I have a face, the slow, washed-up weasel has a seat.

Posted by Eric | January 11, 2007 5:00 PM

Bend it Like... Me!

He needs to work his upper arms more--lordy, he could be almost, though not quite, as alluring as Mr. Savage, if only he put a little effort into it.

Posted by Boomer | January 11, 2007 6:34 PM

Beckham would be hot, were it not for the fact that he's fucking a Spice Girl.

Come on, guys, move on. The Stranger blogging about sports is like my mom blogging about porn. I just don't need to read that.

Posted by The Zero Boss | January 11, 2007 7:53 PM

FNARF, you are correct: my cheap shot at Tottenham was uncalled for. In any case it was more about praise for their young winger Aaron Lennon compared to Beckham.

Spurs are fabulous—in fact, they’re the 2nd best side in north London!

Posted by Sey | January 11, 2007 8:14 PM

That sum comes out to $1.50 per SECOND, round the clock, for five years. Seems to me he should be helping spread democracy in Iraq with that kind of coin.

Posted by Victoria is ugly | January 11, 2007 10:06 PM

A lot of that mind-boggling number is probably tied up in merchandising and other non-direct things, I think. Although I have been wondering where they're getting all the money from.

And come on, entering the global transfer market? Signing an aging superstar is not exactly entering the global transfer market. The best MLS can hope for (and what they should be going for, in my probably not-the-most-knowledgable opinion) is a place to find marketable-to-Europe talent and a solid resting ground for the Beckhams and Ronaldos of the world.

But, y'know, if Seattle had an MLS team, I'd go watch. Why not?

Posted by Abby | January 11, 2007 10:31 PM

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