David Beckham's relationship with Los Angeles Galaxy was always like a bad rebound after getting your heart broken: It never had a chance to last.
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Beckham's heart was never really into leaving Europe behind and coming to Los Angeles. Then again, when you get dumped, you really don't have a choice in the matter.
He had been dropped by England's national team after stepping down as the captain and scorned by Real Madrid, which had relegated him to a reserve role. He was no longer loved by his country and his club team -- at least by the coaches who had decided he was washed up.
Like most in that situation, he fell for the first person that came along and made him feel wanted again. While he was being viewed as a has-been in Europe, the Galaxy swooped in and told him how great he was, how he could revolutionize soccer in the United States, how he could become a star in Hollywood. It was all he needed to hear at that time. He was sold ... well, sort of.
While Beckham came to Los Angeles to feel wanted again and be a part of a team that needed him, he never got over Europe. It was like Jon Favreau's character in Swingers. It didn't matter that he hit it off with a hot bartender or was with a modern-day Dorothy; he still needed to call his ex-girlfriend that had left him months ago. Everything he did was geared toward winning her back.
Unlike Favreau, however, Beckham never moved on from Europe and when his national team and a top-flight club team came calling again, he couldn’t ignore it; he dropped everything and ran back.
It's understandable. The Galaxy couldn't have been surprised by Beckham's decision this week to stay in Europe and leave MLS for good. They allowed him to play for his national team during the season and let him go to AC Milan on loan during the offseason in order to stay in shape for the national team. It was like paying for your fiancee to go on a romantic vacation with her ex before you got married. You probably shouldn't be surprised if she ends up coming back home with second thoughts or, worse yet, the other guy's wedding ring on her finger.
Some will try to spin this for more than it is and read more to into it than what's actually there. The fact is Beckham, at this stage of his career, was never going to work in MLS. It's like if Kobe Bryant took one of those crazy-rumored offers to play in Russia or Greece for $50 million a year, which would be about the same as the exaggerated five-year $250 million deal Beckham reportedly got to come to the States. How long do you think it would take before he got tired of playing in an inferior league with inferior players -- and in front of smaller crowds -- before he wanted to come back?
MLS wasn't built to compete with the English Premier League or Italian Serie A for the top players in the world. It was always about building home-grown talent and cultivating a passion for soccer in the States after the World Cup in 1994. The imminent departure of Beckham shouldn't be seen as a black eye for the league. If anything, it should force them to refocus their attention on all the teams and all its young talent, not just one aging superstar who was always looking for bigger and better things.
Even though MLS and Galaxy might be heartbroken by seeing Beckham turn their back on them, they'll find a way to rebound from this. Beckham did.