Galaxy Honour David Beckham On MLS Opening Day

David Beckham

 

Major League Soccer kicked off a new season on Saturday with 10 games and a tribute to football great David Beckham whose arrival in 2007 helped usher in a new era for the then upstart league.

A statue of the former England captain was unveiled by the LA Galaxy outside their stadium in an emotional ceremony prior to their 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.

Beckham’s former Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and teammate Robbie Keane, as well as Beckham’s wife, Victoria, attended the ceremony.

“From day one when myself, Victoria, and the kids arrived in this city we felt at home and for that we will be forever grateful,” said Beckham, who is set to become an MLS club owner when expansion side Inter Miami joins the league.

“This city has always felt like home for me. My wife, my kids, my parents, and my friends, I couldn’t have had the career I had without the support from you guys.”

Beckham made headlines around the world when he moved to the United States in 2007 after an illustrious career at Manchester United and Real Madrid.

His Galaxy deal was widely reported to be for $250 million over five years, but in reality the $250 million figure was his potential earnings from salary, endorsements and club revenue. His base salary was $6.5 million a year but he was promised a percentage of Galaxy revenues.

Beckham played for the Galaxy until 2012, taking league titles in his final two campaigns, during a career that also featured a stop with England’s national team.

“He wasn’t one of the fastest players on the field, nor did he score many goals,” Arena said. “He was an outstanding passer and a great free-kick specialist.

“He was an intelligent and skillful player. He was simply a great leader and a winner.”

Said former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, “the impact he had on the sport here in America can’t be overstated. He was the first true big name to come to the States.”

Beckham helped pave the way for European star players to follow and so it was fitting that Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on a late header Saturday to lift the Galaxy to a season-opening win over the Fire.

Ibrahimovic, who was second in MLS last season with 22 goals in his debut campaign, rushed in to put his header past Fire goalkeeper David Ousted in the 80th minute.

“We are not 100 percent but we worked to get our first three points,” said Ibrahimovic.

Cincy debut

Elsewhere, Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley’s brace lifted the Canadian side to a 3-1 victory at Philadelphia in the opening game of the season.

The 31-year-old US midfielder found the goal three minutes into first-half stoppage time and again in the 62nd to put Toronto on top.

Mexico’s Marco Fabian answered for the Union in the 73rd minute but US midfielder Nick DeLeon sealed Toronto’s victory three minutes into stoppage time.

Opening day also featured the debut of expansion squad FC Cincinnati, who lost their inaugural game 4-1 to the Seattle Sounders.

It is the second straight season that Seattle has hosted an expansion team in the season opener. Last year they faced Los Angeles FC and suffered a 1-0 loss.

There was no repeat performance as Cincinnati were no match for the Sounders.

Three other early matches ended in draws with FC Dallas and the New England Revolution deadlocked 1-1, Orlando City and New York City level 2-2 and the New York Red Bulls finishing 1-1 with the Columbus Crew.

MLS Cup champions Atlanta, with a new manager and without star Miguel Almiron who decamped to Newcastle United in January, open their campaign on Sunday against Wayne Rooney and D.C. United.

Beckham Celebrates As Miami Voters Approve Path To Stadium

David Beckham (file)

 

David Beckham was celebrating in South Florida on Tuesday after his dream of building a team in Major League Soccer took a notable step forward.

The former England captain’s push to bring a franchise to Miami has been hamstrung for close to five years with a suitable venue for a new stadium extremely difficult to find.

But voters in Miami on Tuesday came out in favour of a change in regulations that will allow his ownership group — Miami Freedom Park Group LLC — to negotiate a 99-year lease for the latest target: city-owned land at the Melreese Country Club, the city’s only municipal golf course, near Miami airport.

The measure voted on Tuesday, which allows for a no-bid process in negotiations, had a 60 per cent lead with 88 per cent of precincts reporting.

The 73-acre site is the fifth location put forward by Beckham, whose investment group consists of Jorge Mas and his brother Jose, owners of local infrastructure company MasTec, as well as Sprint chairman Marcelo Claure and SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son.

The saga has stretched on since February 2014, when Beckham first announced his intentions to own a franchise.

There’s much more work to do, yet the 43-year-old Londoner was delighted to have cleared the latest hurdle in what has been a torturous process so far.

“I need to say a big thanks to the fans who have stuck by us,” the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star told AFP after speaking emotionally in front of an excitable crowd in Coral Gables, many of whom were decked out in Inter Miami FC colours.

“Today is an exciting day,” Beckham said. “We have had a dream of bringing a team to this great city. We want to create a legacy, something our children will aspire to.

“But we also want to win. I am not coming here just to have a pretty team. Winning championships are important to me.”

Hurdles remain 

The next step, however, is far from straightforward.

Beckham’s group must now earn approval from four of the five city commissioners. Two of them — Manolo Reyes, a staunch critic of the plans, and Willy Gort, whose district includes Melreese — opposed the referendum earlier this year.

Furthermore, with the Melreese site built on a toxic waste dump which could cost upwards of $35 million to clean up, doubters have suggested the plans will encounter many more roadblocks before building permits are granted, something which must happen by November 2019 according to the previously agreed MLS expansion agreement.

Critics fear the clean-up costs could spiral and leave the taxpayers footing the bill — a daunting prospect after the uproar caused after baseball’s Miami Marlins Stadium fiasco left locals with a tab which has almost reached $3 billion.

Beckham’s lavish $1 billion, privately financed project will include a stadium complex as well as a huge shopping mall, a 750 room hotel, office space and a 58-acre public park.

Locals were encouraged to vote ‘yes’ to ensure jobs and other benefits for Miami including $20 million to help reinvigorate other public parks in the area.

MLS stress the team will begin playing in 2020 although it will have to be at a temporary venue, potentially at the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, or the Marlins baseball stadium.

“We will look at all options,” Jorge Mas said.

AFP

David Beckham To Face Trial Over Speeding Offence

File Photo: David Beckham

 

Former England football captain David Beckham on Tuesday pleaded not guilty on a technicality to a speeding offence in a loaned Bentley, and will face trial later this month.

The former Manchester United star, who played 115 times for his country, was caught driving the luxury car at 59 miles (94 kilometres) per hour in a 40 mph zone in London in January.

But his lawyer Nick Freeman, known as “Mr Loophole”, argued at a London court that the notice of prosecution was served a day after the 14-day limit.

“There’s no issue in terms of driving or speed limit,” Freeman told the judge.

“I’m not disputing it (notice) wasn’t served. I’m saying it was served out of time.”

Beckham, 43, was not at the hearing, and Freeman said his client was unlikely to appear at the full trial starting September 27.

Beckham To Receive UEFA President’s Award

David Beckham

 

Former England captain David Beckham is to receive the 2018 UEFA President’s Award in honour of his achievements in the game and his work since retiring as a player, European football’s governing body said on Tuesday.

The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, who is now 43, will receive the award in Monaco later this year.

“I have chosen David Beckham as the recipient of this year’s award because he has been a global ambassador for football, promoting the game and all its values in every corner of the planet,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

“His tireless humanitarian efforts, which have helped the lives of many children around the world, should also be celebrated. Beckham is a true football icon of his generation.”

Beckham won the Champions League with United in 1999 and later played for Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain after leaving Madrid.

He hung up his boots in 2013 and earlier this year was awarded an MLS franchise in Miami.

“During my career, I always gave 100 percent and tried to uphold the values of teamwork and fair play and I am proud to join the illustrious list of players who have previously won this award,” said Beckham, who is now involved in charity work with UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund.

“Many of the unforgettable moments I had on the pitch came in the UEFA Champions League such as that magic night in Barcelona in 1999 when we beat Bayern Munich in such dramatic fashion.”

Last year’s UEFA President’s Award was given to former Italy star Francesco Totti. Other recent winners include Franz Beckenbauer and the late Johan Cruyff.

AFP

From Suarez To Keane: Meet The World Cup’s ‘Bad Boys’

 

From Luis Suarez’s teeth to Roy Keane storming out on the Republic of Ireland and Toni Schumacher pole-axing Patrick Battiston in ’82, AFP Sport selects a team of 11 bad boys in World Cup history:

Toni Schumacher (West Germany)

Battiston lost two teeth, cracked three ribs and was left unconscious after Schumacher’s hip smashed into his face in the semi-final of the 1982 tournament in Spain.

The German, who to this day insists he was going for the ball and is still an unpopular name in France, escaped a booking and showed no remorse as West Germany won the match 5-4 on penalties, as it had finished 3-3 after extra-time.

Khalid Boulahrouz (Netherlands)

A record four red and 16 yellow cards were shown during ‘the Battle of Nuremberg’ when Portugal beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the Round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup.

Boulahrouz was booked for a studs-up tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo, which forced the Portugal superstar off, and was sent off for a second yellow in the second half.

Amidst the carnage, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, plus Portugal’s Deco and Costinha all received double yellow cards while Luis Figo was booked for head-butting Marc van Bommel.

Nigel De Jong (Netherlands)

De Jong’s flying kick landed on Xabi Alonso’s chest in the 2010 World Cup final, dubbed the ‘Battle of Johannesburg’, earned the Dutchman a yellow card and warning from English ref Howard Webb in another bad-tempered display by the ‘Oranje’.

The kung-fu kick set the tone for a brutal final as the Dutch earned nine yellow cards, including a pair shown to John Heitinga, who was sent off in extra time.

The Spanish, themselves no angels with five yellow cards, took the trophy when Andres Iniesta slammed home the extra-time winner.

Zinedine Zidane (France), Marco Materazzi (Italy)

The key moment of the 2006 World Cup final came in extra time when Zidane’s sudden headbutt floored Materazzi.

Zidane was apparently retaliating for a verbal provocation. But reports differ as to what Materazzi actually said that triggered the attack and saw the French legend sent off on 110 minutes in his last international appearance.

Italy won the final 5-3 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 as Zidane’s seventh-minute penalty was cancelled out by Materazzi’s first-half header.

In this file photo taken on July 09, 2006 shows the infamous Zidane headbutt on Materazzi. John MACDOUGALL / AFP

David Beckham (England)

Beckham was sent off for a petulant kick aimed at Argentina captain Diego Simeone, who had just clattered England’s midfield ace, early in the second-half of the quarter-final defeat in the 1998 finals.

It finished 2-2 after extra time before England lost 4-3 on penalties, but for Beckham, the ordeal was just beginning.

The Manchester United star bore the brunt of a national outcry on his return to England and “God Forgives Even David Beckham” appeared on a poster outside a church in Nottingham, appealing for clemency on his behalf.

Slaven Bilic (Croatia)

Hosts France were 2-1 up against Croatia in the semi-final of the 1998 tournament, when Bilic theatrically went down clutching his head after a scuffle with Laurent Blanc in the area.

The Frenchman was sent off, for the first time in his career, but the replays showed Blanc had barely touched Bilic.

‘Les Bleus’ held on with 10 men to win, but despite clear evidence, FIFA refused to lift Blanc’s suspension for the World Cup final in Paris which France won 3-0 against Brazil.

Roy Keane (Republic of Ireland)

Issues with the equipment and pitch at Ireland’s pre-World Cup training camp in Saipan saw the tough-tackling Manchester United boil over with rage as Keane stormed out on the Irish before the 2002 finals even started.

A foul-mouthed tirade at the Republic’s manager Mick McCarthy was his parting shot as Keane-less Ireland went onto to lose to Spain in the last 16.

Diego Maradona (Argentina)

The midfield maestro made World Cup folklore with his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the last eight of the 1986 finals, then moments later beat five defenders on a mazy run for his second as Argentina went onto win the title.

However, Maradona finished his World Cup career in disgrace after failing a drugs test in the 1994 finals held in the USA.

His primal scream into the television cameras, eyes bulging, after scoring against Greece was repeatedly shown after it was discovered he had taken a stimulant.

Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Sent off for a deliberate handball in Uruguay’s quarter-final win over Ghana in South Africa 2010, Suarez was banned for four months for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder four years later in Brazil.

With the Italians protesting to the referee for not penalising Suarez, Uruguay won a corner and scored to eliminate Italy with a 1-0 victory in the group stages.

Suarez did not escape punishment, however, and FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee handed him a nine-match ban, two days after the match, ruling him out for the rest of the tournament and the 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the Round of 16.

Jurgen Klinsmann (West Germany)

Klinsmann had earned his reputation for diving, but his most outrageous tumble came in the final of Italy 1990 when he threw himself over Pedro Monzon’s tackle and convulsed on the floor, earning the Argentinian a straight red card on 65 minutes.

Replays showed it was a blatant dive and playing against 10 men, the Germans won the final in Rome when Andreas Brehme converted a penalty five minutes from time.

(COMBO) This combination of 11 pictures made on May 29, 2018 shows from left:
(Top row) Germany’s goalkeeper Harald Schumacher (on June 29, 1986), Croatia’s defender Slaven Bilic (on June 26, 1998), Italy’s defender Marco Materazzi (on May 27, 2008), The Netherland’s defender Khalid Boulahrouz (on May 31, 2012), Italy’s defender Fabio Cannavaro (on May 26, 2010) and The netherland’s midfielder Nigel de Jong (on June 19, 2010).
(Bottom row) France’s midfielder Zinedine Zidane (on August 18, 2005), Argentina’s midfielder Diego Maradona (on June 29, 1986), Barzil’s midfielder Deco (on September 9, 2009), Republic of Ireland’s midfielder Roy Keane (on September 1, 2001) and Uruguay’s forward Luis Suarez (on October 11, 2013).
AFP Photo

 

AFP

Steven Gerrard To Have Scan On Hamstring Injury

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-LIVERPOOLLiverpool FC Captain, Steven Gerrard, is to have a scan on a hamstring injury as Liverpool wait to find out the extent of the problem.

The midfielder was seen limping off with an injury during a 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday.

Prior to this, Major League Soccer club, LA Galaxy, had confirmed that Steven Gerrard would be joining it in July on an 18-month deal.

Steven Gerrard, while expressing his excitement said “I’m very excited to begin the next chapter of my career in the United States with LA Galaxy.

“The Galaxy are the most successful club in Major League Soccer history and I am looking forward to competing for more championships in the years to come,” Gerrard told the MLS club’s official website.

Gerrard who is, to date, the only footballer ever to have scored a goal in an FA Cup Final, a League Cup Final, a UEFA Cup Final and a Champions League Final, told the Liverpool Echo, that he would have agreed to continue his long Liverpool career, had the club offered him a new contract.

Meanwhile, the English club has expressed hope that Gerrard would still be able to play his usually key roles in the team’s quest for a good finish in the Premier League before his impending move to the U.S.

Liverpool Assistant Manager, Colin Pascoe, said of the injury, “Unfortunately, he felt his hamstring towards the end of the game and he is having a scan this morning and we are just waiting for results to come back.

“Hopefully the scans won’t show too much but as we’ve not got the results I can’t say too much.”

Gerrard would also be hoping that the injury is a minor one as he had declared his desire to give more to his boyhood club before departure.

“I am committed to helping the LA Galaxy compete for trophies and to having an impact in Los Angeles and I will give my all for the club.

“In the meantime, I will continue to give everything for Liverpool for the remainder of this season before joining up with the Galaxy,” said Gerrard.

The former England captain had spent his entire career at Liverpool, making nearly 700 appearances and winning the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup.

The 34-year-old midfielder would join a growing list of high-profile former Premier League players to cross the Atlantic in the latter stages of their careers, most notably David Beckham.

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool striker, Robbie Keane, will be a teammate of Gerrard at the Galaxy while former Chelsea midfielder, Frank Lampard had signed for New York City FC, although he is still in England on loan at Manchester City.

Mandela: Renowned Personalities Pay Tribute To A Sport Ambassador

 Sport Personalities all over the world are paying tributes to South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, who has died at age 95.

Mandela believed sport has the power to change the world. According to him, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people; in a way that nothing else does”. After he was elected president in 1994, Madiba, as he is popularly called in his country, used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to unite South Africa that was almost torn apart by racial violence. His message was, “One team, one nation!”

Boxing legend, Muhammad Ali said “His was a life filled with purpose and hope – hope for himself, his country and the world. Ali concluded by saying, “He taught us forgiveness on a grand scale”.

According to Brazilian football icon, Pele, Mandela was “one of the most influential people in my life. He was my hero, my friend”.

Tiger Woods,  the world’s number one golfer and a 14-time major winner, said “You will always be in my heart, Mr Mandela.”

President of football governing body, FIFA, Sepp Blatter, wrote, “It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person. He was probably one of the greatest humanists of our time.”

Blatter spoke of Mandela’s impact on football’s 2010 World Cup in South Africa: “When he was honoured and cheered by the crowd at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium on July 11, 2010, it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts.

“It was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced. For him, the World Cup in South Africa truly was ‘a dream come true’.”

He added that there would be a minute’s silence as a mark of respect ahead of the next round of international matches.

England’s record goal scorer, Sir Bobby Charlton said “Mr Mandela worked tirelessly all of his life for racial equality and his legacy will live on way beyond our lifetime. I feel blessed to have lived during his life span and privileged to have met him on a number of occasions.”

Former England Captain, David Beckham’s words were, “My heart goes out to the people in South Africa and Mr Mandela’s family. We have lost a true gentleman and a courageous human being. It was truly an honour to have known a man who had genuine love for so many people. Rest in peace.”

Six-time Olympic champion, Usain Bolt also showed respect for the global icon, “One of the greatest human beings ever. May your soul rest in peace. The world’s greatest fighter…”

In Adelaide, a couple of hours after the news of Mandela’s death was announced, a minute’s silence was observed before the start of play on day 2 of the Second Ashes Test, between Australia and England. The players wore black armbands in tribute to Mandela.

The English Premier League has confirmed that a minute’s silence would be observed before the start of all matches taking place this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Football Association and Football League have also asked clubs taking part in their respective competitions to have a minute’s applause before their matches this weekend.

PSG Willing To Keep Beckham On Board

The Chairman of French league champions, Paris St Germain has opened up on former England soccer star, David Beckham, saying PSG is willing and hopeful that Beckham can still have some involvement with the team.

Nasser al Khelaifi made this known to journalists during a news conference where he also announced that PSG have extended their shirt sponsorship deal with Dubai airline Emirates by another five years.

Nasser said on Beckham’s retirement announcement that there was still time for discussion and they were at present discussing, adding that in a few weeks PSG would be hoping to announce that an agreement had been reached with the former United player.

On the shirt sponsorship deal, Emirates executive vice-president, Thierry Antinori, said the company was looking forward to maintaining close ties with PSG.

Despite maintaining a relationship between the two parties that dates back to 2006, neither PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi nor Emirates executive vice-president Thierry Antinori were prepared to reveal the official value of the agreement.

According to media reports, the agreement was worth around 25 million euros a year, still significantly below the more lucrative shirt sponsorship deals in the English Premier League.

 

PSG President Urges Beckham To Hang On Till Next season

Veteran midfielder and former England international David Beckham has successfully put PSG big boss in a state of want.

Nasser Al Khelaifi the President of French club; Paris Saint-Germain has said that he wants the England International to stay on at the club till the next season as he has dazzled the club both on and off field.

In an interview, Al-Khelaifi said Beckham has shown that he is really happy at Paris Saint-Germain, the more reason why we want him to stay till the next season and it will be thrown open to him for discussions soonest.

David Beckham sign a short contract with the French club which was supposed to end by this season end but seeing the impact the player has made despite being a substitute player for all his appearances, more has been demanded from the player by Al-Khelaifi as he admitted that having the player on board PSG was one of the best decision ever made because he has turned the PSG squad around within a shortest period of time.

Beckham responding to this request said he is not giving an answer yet even though the offer is irresistible as he asked that the season will decided what answer he will give to the PSG President’s request.

Ronaldo and Beckham among 10 richest athletes in the world

David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo both feature in the list of the top ten highest earners in the world of sport compiled by Forbes.

The former England captain pipped the Real Madrid star to eighth place, earning $9 million (€7.1m) at LA Galaxy with $37m (€29.1m) coming in from various endorsements in 2011.

Ronaldo’s salary dwarfed Beckham’s, with the Portuguese raking in $20.5m (€16.1m) for his services at the Santiago Bernabeu last year. He made less from endorsements, however, having earned $22m (€17.3m) for his ‘extra curricular’ activities.

The wing duo, who both wore the No. 7 shirt for Manchester United, brought in a massive $88.5m (€69.6m) together but that total is only slightly more than the figure boxer Floyd Mayweather recieved for just two fights on his own.

Mayweather, who is currently serving time in prison, earned a whopping $85m (€67m) from his fights alone, having received no income for any endorsements.

Tiger Woods dropped from top spot in the table to third, with fellow golfer Phil Mickelson coming in just above Beckham in seventh.

Another boxer, Manny Pacquiao, took second place, with basketball stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant taking fourth and sixth place respectively.

Tennis legend Roger Federer placed fifth, with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning squeezing onto the list in 10th place.
FORBES’ TOP 10 HIGHEST PAID ATHLETES

1. Floyd Mayweather $85m (€67m)
2. Manny Pacquiao $62m (€48.8m)
3. Tiger Woods $59.4m (€46.8m)
4. LeBron James $53m (€41.7m)
5. Roger Federer $52.7m (€41.5m)
6. Kobe Bryant $52.3m (€41.2m)
7. Phil Mickelson $47.8m (€37.6m)
8. David Beckham $46m (€36.2m)
9. Cristiano Ronaldo $42.5m (€33.5m)
10. Peyton Manning $42.4m (€33.4m)

Messi tops football rich list ahead of Ronaldo and Beckham

Lionel Messi has been named the highest paid footballer in the world, trailed by England’s American based star, David Beckham and Real Madrid’s Portuguese star in third position.

According to France Football, which is set to release figures for the best paid players in the world on Tuesday, Barcelona forward Messi raked in €33 million last year from wages and sponsorship deals.

LA Galaxy midfielder and former England captain Beckham, for so long the game’s top earner, came in second on €31.5m, while Real Madrid star Ronaldo collected €29.2m in 2011.

Elsewhere, Samuel Eto’o, who made a lucrative move from Inter to Anzhi Makhachkala last summer, is fourth on the list, with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney fifth.

Wealthy Premier League outfit Manchester City have two players in the top ten, with Argentine forward Sergio Aguero and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure sixth and seventh, respectively.

The only other club represented twice is Madrid, with Ronaldo’s team-mate Kaka ranking ninth.

Elsewhere, it is worth noting that Chelsea misfit Fernando Torres, who finally got back amongst the goals at the weekend, netted €16.7m during his disastrous first 12 months at Stamford Bridge.

There is not a single player based in Serie A in the top 10 but there is one representative from the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich skipper Philipp Lahm.

THE LIST
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)                                     33m
David Beckham (LA Galaxy)                               31.5m
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)                      29.2m
Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi)                                           23.3m
Wayne Rooney (Man United)                            20.6m
Sergio Aguero (Man City)                                   18.8m
Yaya Toure (Man City)                                        17.6m
Fernando Torres (Chelsea)                                 16.7m
Kaka (Real Madrid)                                              15.5m
Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)                         14.3m

The amount was rated in the generally accepted currency of the European Union member countries.