Beckham to leave Galaxy for 'one last challenge'

ESPN staff
November 20, 2012

David Beckham has announced that the 2012 MLS Cup Final on December 1 will be his final game for LA Galaxy, but the 37-year-old had insisted he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.

Beckham has been heavily linked with a number of European, South American and Australian clubs recently, with his management set to look for a new deal following the LA Galaxy's final against Houston Dynamo next week.

The 37-year-old will part ways with the Galaxy after five years in America, although he is still eager to remain involved with the MLS.

"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said. "I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.

"In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in LA and across the States.

"Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country, and I want to always be part of growing it."

Beckham has made a big impact in Los Angeles since his groundbreaking move from Real Madrid, reaching three league finals and winning one MLS title last year during his best season stateside.

His announcement was greeted with this gushing tribute from his LA paymasters.

"Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport," Tim Leiweke, the president of Galaxy owners AEG said. "David not only took our franchise to another level, but he took our sport to another level It has been an honour and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours."

Beckham has strongly rejected rumours that he would finish his career in Australia and his statement suggests he is eager to extend his influence in the MLS away from Galaxy.

Beckham's exit from the LA franchise creates a vacancy on their roster and will heighten the rumours linking Chelsea's Frank Lampard with a move to Galaxy in January.

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