Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: January 19, 1:46 PM ET
David Beckham to stay with Galaxy
CARSON, Calif. -- David Beckham has signed a two-year contract to remain with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
The team has scheduled a 2 p.m. PT news conference for Thursday at Staples Center to make the formal announcement.
Beckham, 36, has already played five seasons with the Galaxy and recently rejected a move to Paris Saint-Germain of the French league.
Beckham, whose five-year, $32.5 million contract with the Galaxy expired on New Year's Eve, was also approached by clubs in England, Italy, Brazil and the Middle East.
"This was an important decision for me," Beckham said in a news release from the team. "I had many offers from clubs from around the world, however, I'm still passionate about playing in America and winning trophies with the Galaxy.
"I've seen first hand how popular soccer is now in the States and I'm as committed as ever to growing the game here. My family and I are incredibly happy and settled in America and we look forward to spending many more years here."
A source close to the situation said Simon Fuller, Beckham's business partner and manager, was again key to making the deal happen.
"When David and I discussed making the move from Real Madrid to the L.A. Galaxy back in 2007, our minds were firmly focused on the massive opportunity of helping to grow soccer in the United States," Fuller said in the release. "We have made great progress over the past five years in raising the profile of soccer domestically and the MLS on a worldwide stage, and we are encouraged by all the results. However, clearly this is an ongoing mission and this new deal confirms our commitment to continuing our journey and making sure the world's biggest sport, soccer, continues to grow in the world's most passionate sports loving nation, the USA."
One option Beckham retained in a the new deal is the ability to purchase an MLS franchise when his playing days are over, a source said.
Last season, Beckham helped lead the Galaxy to its first MLS Cup title since 2005 as well as their second Supporters' Shield during his time in America.
"I am thrilled that David has chosen to re-join the Galaxy, especially as he had numerous options where he could continue his career," Galaxy general manager and head coach Bruce Arena said in a statement. "I felt that he was one of the best players in all of MLS last season and we could not have achieved the success that we did without him. We look forward to trying to replicate that success this season with David once again in a Galaxy uniform."
Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of AEG who was instrumental in bringing Beckham to the U.S. in the first place, echoed the positive sentiments.
"There has been much speculation in the past four months on where David was going to play and we did not get caught up in this and remained focused on re-signing him," Leiweke said in a statement. "David had many options and we are pleased he felt comfortable, not only with our organization but also with Los Angeles, and will remain an important part of our club, our AEG family and our City."
Sources close to the process have told ESPNLosAngeles.com that the Galaxy's willingness to accommodate Beckham if he were selected to play for Great Britain in the Olympic Games in London this summer was an important factor for the superstar, who was a key pitchman for Britain's bid.
Beckham was pursued most intently by PSG's Qatari ownership, which hoped to use the English superstar's presence for marketing several ventures. He was reportedly offered an 18-month, $18.7 million pact. PSG officials announced just after New Year's Day that Beckham would not be joining the French club and would return to the Galaxy, and Beckham's representatives expressed confidence a deal with the Galaxy would be finalized this week or next.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi and Scott French was used in this report.