I've been wondering when (depite the drumbeat of reports from Europe) people back home would finally realize that David Beckham really wants to stay in Milan. Now it seems they are waking up to it and none too happy.
Perhaps it was too much to load onto one man's shoulders -to popularize the game in a vast nation of 300 million people. Perhaps MLS and others close to the league lost some perspective in overplaying Beckham's star power. One popular media outlet even had a special "Beckham Watch" feature on its web page which just looks strange when you consider that even at the height of Michael Jordan's dominance of the NBA, you would never see such a thing.
For Beckham himself, its obvious that he still dreams of playing at the highest levels and his aspirations to earn England some silverware remain unfulfilled. Perhaps he went for the big paycheck in LA but then did some soul searching and remembered that he had some unfinished business. He obviously believes he can't achieve those goals by playing in MLS or he would not have gone to Milan with the intent to seek a longer term stay.
I truly believe cutting Beckham loose will allow the league and its fans to focus on the fundamentals; attractive, compelling soccer featuring exciting young players who want to be there. Cutting Beckham loose will allow the spotlight to shine where it should; on exciting young players like Kenny Cooper, the dean of US keepers - Kasey Keller, or the return of "Big Cat" Tony Sanneh.
For LA fans who were hoping for a turnaround under new coach Bruce Arena, the realization that they stand to lose Beckham and perhaps Landon Donovan (to Bayern Munich) this year may be too much to bear. The league would do to take some of the money they'll save on Beckham's massive salary and bring home DaMarcus Beasley, buy a few quality foreign players, while paying rookies enough so they won't need to live in their cars.
Still, its a shame that AC Milan couldn't at least have a dialogue on this with the LA Galaxy, instead of communicating to them indirectly through the press - something that happens all too often in Europe these days. Arena seems none too amused in remarking to the LA press that “I'm not sure it's appropriate for club officials at the biggest clubs in the world to make comments without having made contact with us. If I had a player on loan then I wouldn't be talking about acquiring him unless I had spoken to the club."
Here in Bella Italia, Danny Szetela played the final seven minutes last night in Brescia's 0-0 draw with Sassuuolo. Brescia is now third in Serie B with 38 points, just one behind second place Livorno and two behind leaders Bari.