For the Record
David Beckham will play the last 13 games of L.A.'s season.

David Beckham's ongoing struggle to get out of his MLS contract and stay in Europe has always come off as disloyal, predictable and ultimately par for the course for the self-centered midfielder. Well, you can now add senseless, ridiculous and absurd to the list if his new proposed transfer is agreed upon.

With the Los Angeles Galaxy intent on having Beckham play for them this season and Beckham just as intent on playing for AC Milan, the two sides have apparently come to a compromise. Beckham will get to finish out the current Italian Serie A season with AC Milan and will then rejoin the Galaxy in mid-July. 

It is quite possibly the worst deal I have ever heard a team accept (or consider accepting) for a player who is under contract but clearly no longer wants to play for the team.

So instead of Beckham coming back to the team next week and getting ready for the MLS season, as was agreed upon by all parties before the Galaxy loaned Beckham to AC Milan, he will be allowed to stay in Milan while the Galaxy plays the first 17 games of a 30-game season without him. Then the Galaxy and their fans are just supposed to welcome their disgruntled prima donna superstar for the stretch run when everyone in the world knows he will opt out of his contract after the season and be on the first flight back to Milan once the season is over.

MLS was in the driver's seat in this negotiation. The league held Beckham's contract and could have forced him to return to Los Angeles next week, made him sit out and play for nobody or attracted a hefty transfer fee from Milan to keep him. Either way MLS was in line to look like a real player in the international soccer world that couldn't simply be pushed around by the demands of a superstar player or an established European club.

Amazingly, MLS looks like it's about to choose "none of the above" and act like the ugly stepchild that its already viewed as in Europe. The league is willing to let Beckham stay in Milan until the Serie A season is over, take him back for less than half the MLS season in July and then let him go back to Milan for good in November. It's like having a foot-long sandwich, letting someone have a bite and being content when you get back a crumpled wrapper full of crumbs.

This was supposed to be a no-lose situation for MLS, whether it had Beckham for the start of the season or kissed him goodbye, yet the league somehow found a way to come out as the biggest loser of all.

If MLS thinks it and the Galaxy are better off by having a disgruntled Beckham come back to a city he doesn't want to live in and a team he no longer wants to play for, they are as blind as anyone who thinks MLS will ever be a respected league. At this point Beckham, if he comes back for the last dozen or so games of the season, will become the exact opposite of the ambassador MLS thought he would be when it signed him. He will become the poster child of everything that is wrong with the league and its misguided infatuation with past-their-prime international players who add nothing to the product and only feed the perception that MLS is nothing more than a training ground and a retirement home for soccer players who still long to play for premier soccer teams in elite soccer leagues.


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