- Title: USA: Reactions in L.A. to David Beckham's injury to his achilles tendon
- Date: 16th March 2010
- Summary: PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (FILE - AUGUST 1, 2009) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) DAVID BECKHAM BANNER AT THE ROSE BOWL DAVID BECKHAM PLAYING IN SOCCER GAME
- Embargoed: 31st March 2010 13:00
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Topics: Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA1XRCH2BBBQ6PWJ7MO4NNTGI8O
- Story Text: Sports fans in Los Angeles and former L.A. Galaxy manager Alexi Lalas talked on Monday (March 15) about the legacy of controversial soccer icon David Beckham.
Earlier in the day the news had spread far and wide about Beckham's career-threatening injury. Beckham tore his left achilles tendon during AC Milan's Sunday (March 14) match against AC Chievo in Italy, and then flew to Finland to have a surgery to repair it.
Fans gathered for lunch at a popular Downtown L.A. sports bar and restaurant commented on the current health and worth of the legendary British midfielder, as well as his short but shaky history with the L.A. Galaxy.
"It's been mediocre," said Ernie Escobedo in summing up Beckham's contribution to U.S. soccer. "It's been some good, some good signs. Some bad signs. Some turmoil with the team. And, you know, he just needs to come back. And come back with the force."
New Yorker Chad Hopenwasser questioned whether or not the big investment made to bring Beckham to America has paid the big dividends expected by many.
"I'd be curious if they were be able to do it again. If they would do it, given the amount of money that he has made. Given, from what I can see, the commitment that he's given, if they would do-- if they would partake in that again. So, it's funny. When I think of his injury, the L.A. Galaxy is probably like the 5th thing I think of in terms of Beckham. So, which is just I think indicative of probably his-- what he's meant to the team and stuff."
Others expressed similar doubt as to the actual value Beckham brought to the L.A Galaxy in the end.
"When he was signed, the City of Los Angeles made this great, big, you know, celebration to kind of put their soccer team on the map," recalled Rod Rektor. "And they were really looking forward to moving forward. But it just seems like he hasn't been able to pull that trigger for them."
Rektor's friend Phil Weigmer agreed.
"He himself, the team, have all made a big deal of his coming to Los Angeles. He was going to be the Godsend for soccer in Los Angeles and maybe throughout the U.S. I don't believe at this time from what I know about the situation, which might be limited, that he's actually fulfilled his obligation both physically on and off the field and financially for the team as well," he said.
The injury sustained by Beckham may not only prevent the 34-year-old athlete from playing in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa; it may ultimately sideline him from the game of soccer for good.
"Well, I think he should do what's best for him," observed Seth Bradley. "As far as his injury, I think he was going to set a record this year wasn't he? Like the only English player to play in that many World Cups? You know, he should just take his time and not force it. Because he, you know, he's getting older, so he needs to nurse that injury and make sure he comes back."
Already in the twilight of his career, a determined Beckham had persuaded the Galaxy to let him have two loan spells at AC Milan in order to stay in the running for an England squad placement that would have given him the opportunity to play in his fourth World Cup.
Now that his dreams of playing in June look bleak, given that doctors say the recovery period from such an injury is generally more than three months, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger will be contemplating his future.
One of the most marketable sportsmen in the world, Beckham has previously said he has no intention of retiring from the international game after the tournament despite his age. Beckham has consistently said how inspired he is by former Milan team mate Paolo Maldini, who played on until he was 40.
Lalas was at the helm of the L.A. Galaxy when Beckham jumped aboard three years ago.
He talked about the unfortunate turn of events for Beckham from his L.A. home.
"Obviously devastating for him personally," said Lalas. "And certainly horrible news if you're a Galaxy fan, or an England fan, or a major league soccer fan. And, you know, he is now part of the American soccer fabric. And, you know, injuries happen in soccer, and you know, for him personally to have it rule him out for the World Cup, which I know meant so much to him as I know it always is representing his country, just horrible news."
In spite of the gloomy outlook, Lalas encouraged Beckham watchers to not draw any hasty conclusions about the Londoner's future.
"Well, you know, you hear something like this, and you reference it with other players that you've seen. And there's certainly been other players that have had it happen and have come back. And it just remains to be seen. I would caution people to rule out David Beckham. Time and time again he's proved people wrong and physically been able to come back ,and make an impact on the field. And he's notorious for taking these challenges on, and coming out on top," Lalas said.
Lalas also countered any assertions that hiring Beckham to play soccer for a U.S. team might now be viewed to have been a mistake.
"I think without a doubt, regardless of the fact that it might not have gone ideally, and perfectly to script, on or off the field in terms of Beckham coming here, without a doubt it was worth it. What he has done on the field, not just for the Galaxy but for major league soccer. And what he has done off the field in terms of the attention and focus that he has brought to our sport. Well worth it. So, whether it's dollars and cents or just the actual brand, and what he's done to soccer in America, it was worth it. I don't think anybody can dispute that, or would look back and say that they wouldn't have made the choice to bring Beckham here," he added.
Beckham still has two years left on his contract with the L.A. Galaxy.
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