David Beckham: Is He MLS’s Most Important Player Ever?

Since David Beckham’s move to the U.S. in 2007, Major League Soccer has gained a lot of credibility, both at home and abroad. Some of this is undoubtedly down to the former England captain, but does that make him the most important player MLS has ever seen? Beckham’s announcement that the MLS Cup Final on December 1 will be his last for LA Galaxy was greeted with surprise. Not as much surprise as when he first announced he would be playing in LA, however. Leaving Real Madrid at the age of 31 in favour of playing for the Galaxy was greeted with something just short of derision in his home country. Madrid had offered to extend his contract and he was popular with the supporters—despite the team’s failure to win any trophies during his time at the club—but Beckham had fallen out of favour with then-manager Fabio Capello. Steve McClaren, too, had neglected to include him in his England squad. Even so, playing football (soccer) in America wasn’t something that anyone expected or respected. A precedent was set in the 1970s when Pele, George Best and Johan Cruyff played in the North American Soccer League, but the common consensus in England was that it ...
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