Beckham to make post-Galaxy decision by year-end

CARSON, California Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:39am IST

British soccer player David Beckham (2nd L) sits courtside with his sons Cruz (L), Romeo (2nd R) and Brooklyn (R) during the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns in Los Angeles November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

British soccer player David Beckham (2nd L) sits courtside with his sons Cruz (L), Romeo (2nd R) and Brooklyn (R) during the NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns in Los Angeles November 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

CARSON, California (Reuters) - David Beckham says he has plenty of "exciting opportunities" to consider once his six-year playing career with the LA Galaxy ends after next month's Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup final.

Ruling out retirement, former England captain Beckham said he still has one more challenge to face on the field but will not decide on his next move until the end of this year.

"I still feel I have something left in me as a player," the former Manchester United and Real Madrid mid-fielder told reporters after a Galaxy practice session at the Home Depot Center on Tuesday.

"I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player, even at 37 years old. I feel I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided.

"I have some exciting opportunities on the table but right now my focus is on the final. Once that's out of the way, we have a tour to deal with and then it's Christmas, which we always spend in London. I will make a decision then."

Last week, Beckham's management denied he had plans to move to Australia's A-League though his decision to leave the Galaxy has prompted huge speculation over his next destination, with a return to England one of the options floated.

Asked if he could be more specific about his next move, Beckham replied: "No, because right now my focus is on the final and I haven't made a decision on that yet.

"There are options and I am very lucky at my age to have options. My decision will be made around December or in the New Year but right now I can't even comment on it."

CAREFUL CONSIDERATION

Beckham has spent six seasons with the Galaxy and in January he signed a new two-year contract after his team won the MLS title. However that deal included an option on the second year and, after careful consideration, he decided to leave the club.

He will play his final game on December 1 in the MLS Cup final against Houston Dynamo at the Galaxy's Home Depot Center.

"I came to the decision (to leave the Galaxy) solely because I felt I had achieved everything I wanted to achieve with the Galaxy, on the field and off the field," said Beckham, who earned 115 caps for England.

"On the field, to have played in three finals, by the time next Saturday comes around, in six years, and to have been able to lift the championship last year in our own stadium, I felt that I had achieved everything I wanted to do.

"Now that we have reached the MLS Cup final, that it is going to be in our stadium again in front of our own fans, it just felt it was the right time (to bow out)."

Beckham, who has long stated his ambition to be part of an MLS ownership structure in the future, joined the Galaxy from Real Madrid in 2007 amid a wave of publicity on a five-year, $32.5 million deal.

Initially criticised for his decision to travel back to Europe for England commitments and for his loan move to AC Milan in Italy which ended in a serious injury, he finally gave Galaxy fans everything they wanted last year.

The team won the MLS Cup with victory over the Houston Dynamo and Beckham, who was voted on to the MLS Best XI, finished the season second in the league for assists. In January, he signed a fresh two-year deal with the Galaxy. (Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Julian Linden)

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