(Corrects date of debut in 10th paragraph.)
David Beckham decided against a return to Europe in favor of playing another two seasons in Los Angeles, where he helped the Galaxy win their first Major League Soccer championship in six years in November.
Former England captain Beckham, who played for Manchester United and Real Madrid before joining the Galaxy in 2007, was linked with a move to clubs including Paris Saint-Germain, which is owned by the Qatari government, since his contract with the Galaxy expired in December.
“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,” Beckham said today in an e- mailed team statement. “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.”
In 74 games for the Galaxy, the 36-year-old Beckham has scored 11 times and set up 31 goals. The team has reached the playoffs the past three years.
Even as his on-field career enters its twilight years, Beckham’s earning power continues to climb. He collected 2.6 million pounds ($4 million) from new endorsement deals in 2010, according to an Oct. 6 filing by his London-based company, Footwork Productions Ltd.
Beckham’s 2010 earnings from Footwork Productions, which don’t include his Galaxy salary, rose 31 percent to 14.9 million pounds, the filing shows. Forbes magazine in May put his total earnings at $40 million. He also endorses companies including Adidas AG (ADS) and PepsiCo Inc. (PEP)
“My family and I are incredibly happy and settled in America and we look forward to spending many more years here,” Beckham said.
MLS has grown to 19 teams from 12 since Beckham arrived. In that time, nine new soccer-specific stadiums have been built, giving the league 15. Average attendance rose to 17,872 last season, making MLS the 10th-best attended league in the world, the Galaxy said in the statement.
“The 2011 Galaxy team may have been the best club in MLS history and, like David, we’re focused on repeating that success in 2012,” Tim Leiweke, chief executive officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Los Angeles-based company that owns the Galaxy, said in the statement.
Beckham made his debut for United in 1992 as a 17-year-old and rose to prominence by scoring from the halfway line against Wimbledon on the opening day of the following season. He won England’s Premier League six times with United, the F.A. Cup twice and the Champions League, the continent’s top prize. He won the Spanish league title while at Real Madrid, which he joined in 2003.
Beckham made his first England appearance in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova in 1996. He played in 115 games for his country, the most by a non-goalkeeper, scoring 17 times.
The Galaxy return to competitive action on March 7 against Toronto in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. They open the 2012 MLS season three days later, when they host Real Salt Lake.
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