Beck­ham: Dono­van rift a bless­ing that helped unify Galaxy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD­WINES - FIFA.COM

DAVID BECK­HAM be­lieves fric­tion with Los An­ge­les Galaxy team­mate Lan­don Dono­van ear­lier this year helped unify the ma­jor league soc­cer out­fit. Galaxy face Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup fi­nal in Seat­tle tomorrow.

Beck­ham had missed the start of the cam­paign af­ter se­cur­ing an ex­ten­sion to his loan deal with AC Mi­lan un­til the end of the Serie A sea­son in Italy, and while he was away, a book ti­tled The Beck­ham Ex­per­i­ment was pub­lished ex­pos­ing rifts be­tween him and Dono­van, who ques­tioned the Eng­land mid­fielder’s com­mit­ment to Galaxy.

As the con­tro­versy en­sued, Beck­ham was booed by some Galaxy fans on his re­turn to the Home De­pot Cen­tre in July, but since then the 34-year-old has mended his re­la­tion­ship with Dono­van and helped turn his team from last-placed fin­ish­ers in 2008 to Western Con­fer­ence cham­pi­ons.

The for­mer Manchester United and Real Madrid ace, who will re­join AC Mi­lan on De­cem­ber 28 in a sec­ond loan deal, re­fused to make an is­sue of his dif­fi­cult start to the sea­son with LA Galaxy, in­stead say- ing the fric­tion with Dono­van had been ben­e­fi­cial.

“I don't have to say any­thing about my­self, I'll leave that to other peo­ple to de­cide,” Beck­ham said. “But I love play­ing soc­cer, I work hard for my team and my team­mates, and my­self and my man­ager and the fans, and I hope that's enough for peo­ple.

“But there's noth­ing wrong with a bit of con­tro­versy in a club. It brings play­ers and teams to­gether and it has done that.”

Alexi Lalas hailed Galaxy for fi­nally mak­ing Beck­ham’s move to MLS a suc­cess. The for­mer US de- fen­der was the club's man­ag­ing di­rec­tor when the free-kick spe­cial­ist ar­rived in Los An­ge­les in July 2007, only for Beck­ham to spend his first half-sea­son ham­pered by in­jury.

Galaxy failed to im­prove in Beck­ham’s first full sea­son at the club and, hav­ing fired two head coaches in Frank Yal­lop and Ruud Gul­lit, team own­ers AEG also jet­ti­soned Lalas, bring­ing in Bruce Arena as coach and di­rec­tor of foot­ball.

Arena could not pre­vent Galaxy fin­ish­ing with the worst record in MLS in 2008, but the turn­around in 2009 has im­pressed Lalas.

David Beck­ham

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