David Beckham has admitted he is “amazed” by the number of offers he has had and believes he can play on until he is 40.
The former England captain is weighing up where to continue his remarkable career when the US Major League Soccer season ends on November 20.
In an interview with Telegraph Sport, he said he was seriously considering staying with Los Angeles Galaxy but that if he did move, he would insist that any club he joins gives him a regular starting place so he can realize his ambition of leading the British team to gold in next year’s Olympics.
Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City are among the clubs who have shown interest in the 36 year-old, but Beckham revealed there have been several other enquiries.
“I have had a lot of offers and I must say that I’m amazed that, at my age, I have had so many. Its been a bit of a surprise,” he said.
What has occurred to Beckham, however, is that by staying at LA Galaxy he can significantly extend a playing career that began with a substitute’s appearance for Manchester United in a League Cup game with Brighton in 1992.
Almost exactly 19 years later he ran the show for LA Galaxy on Sunday night as they beat Chivas USA 1-0 to finish their regular season unbeaten at home. Afterwards he acknowledged the Galaxy fans on a lap of honor, but even if he does leave the club next month, it is unlikely to have been final appearance at their Home Depot Center ground; Galaxy will have home advantage in the playoffs.
A number of Premier League clubs are among Beckham’s suitors but it seems increasingly unlikely he will return to England. He has previously expressed how difficult he would find it to play against Manchester United and also knows that the demands of the English game may now be physically beyond him.
Just as importantly, he does not wish to make himself a very big, very famous target to attack and privately he fears that if he were to make a grand return and fail — he does, after all suffer frequently from a bad back — ‘Brand Beckham’ could take a beating, jeopardizing his chance of being included as an over-age player in the Great Britain team at the London 2012 Olympics.
He has no such concerns with LA Galaxy, where Coach Bruce Arena affords him a quarterback-style role in which he continues to exhibit his exquisite passing and crossing. This season he has a 15 assists to his name, prompting him to believe he could even carry on until he hits 40. Asked whether that was a realistic proposition, Beckham nodded keenly: “I think so”.
He added: “What will actually happen next I still can’t say, but what is very important in the decision in terms of what I do, be it staying here, or going to PSG or wherever, is that I get enough time on the pitch because I want to be part of the Olympics.
“I’ve made no secret of that. Even to be in the team would be incredible. To be part of that Olympic spirit and to be able to win gold for Britain would be the ultimate [goal] for me.
“The fact that we’ve got the Olympics in the east end of London where I grew up, the fact that I could be part of that and that I could be out there trying to win gold would mean a hell of a lot to me because I am very patriotic.
“So whoever I sign for, to make sure I would be ready to make that attempt, I would have to be playing regularly.”
Galaxy would happily oblige, and Arena is still amazed by the veteran midfielder’s enthusiasm.
“David wants to play in every game and in every minute of every game. I had a word with him about that the other day but unfortunately I didn’t have a crowbar with me!” the coach said.
“He has been a great signing for Galaxy, a great signing for the MLS and we would like him to stay longer. We will see, for David will do what he thinks is best for him at the end of the season.”