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Friedrich excited by MLS potential

Chicago Fire defender Arne Friedrich believes Major League Soccer will continue to grow, despite David Beckham's high-profile departure.

Friedrich, 33, signed for Fire last year on a one-year deal but enjoyed his time in the United States so much that he decided to sign for a second season, rather than seek a more lucrative move elsewhere.

"The first year whetted my appetite," he told Kicker. "If I wanted to cash in, I could have signed for a club in Dubai, China or Russia. In the MLS I only earn a fraction of what I earned in the Bundesliga."

The former Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg player said he was drawn across the Atlantic not only because of the country itself, but for the "spirit of optimism in the league".

He said: "I am at the right place at the right time. The football over here is getting better and better. Los Angeles would not get relegated in the Bundesliga. Even without Beckham, Galaxy is one of the favourites to win the league."

An honest belief that the best is yet to come for the MLS, despite Beckham's departure from Galaxy last year, is keeping Friedrich hungry for success.

"I want to either win the cup or the championship," he said. "We have changed our system from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 in pre-season. Let's see how it works out."

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