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Nov 20, 2012

Beckham calls end to LA Galaxy career

David Beckham has announced that the 2012 MLS Cup Final on December 1st will be his final game for LA Galaxy, but the 37-year-old had insisted he is not ready to hang up his boots just yet.

• Blog: MLS now faces one of its biggest challenges

Beckham has been heavily linked with a number of European, South American and Australian clubs recently, with his management set to look for a new deal following the LA Galaxy's final against Houston Dynamo next week.

The 37-year-old will part ways with the Galaxy after five years in America, although he is still eager to remain involved with the MLS.

"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career," Beckham said. "I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.

"In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year. I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in L.A. and across the States.

"Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country, and I want to always be part of growing it."

Beckham has made a big impact in Los Angeles since his groundbreaking move from Real Madrid, reaching three league finals and winning one MLS title last year during his best season stateside.

His announcement was greeted with this gushing tribute from his LA paymasters.

"Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport," Tim Leiweke, the president of Galaxy owners AEG said. "David not only took our franchise to another level, but he took our sport to another level It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours."

MLS commissioner Don Garber added: "When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America.

"There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived.

"David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the league.''

Beckham has strongly rejected rumours that he would finish his career in Australia and his statement suggests he is eager to extend his influence in the MLS away from Galaxy.

In spite of those denials, however, several A-League franchises are hopeful they can lure the former England captain to Australia.

"What I can say is that it's certainly real, we're putting forward an offer, it's compelling and the opportunity is here for him to come here," Melbourne Heart chief executive Scott Munn said.

"That is absolutely legitimate. Let's let David get through next week, play the final of the MLS and hopefully he'll have a win. Then I'm sure he'll assess every offer."

Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers, who are in part financially backed by the Australian federation in their first season, have also been linked with bids.

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