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By ESPN Staff

Beckham's wages to dwarf other MLS stars

David Beckham will be earning 500 times more each week than most of his team-mates at Los Angeles Galaxy next season after agreeing the richest deal in world sport.

The former England captain has signed a five-year contract with the club and Major League Soccer (MLS) worth an astonishing £128million ($250 million). He will leave Real Madrid at the end of this season and join the Galaxy in August.

News of the mega-deal has already led to a backlash from other pros in the States, including his fellow former Manchester United trainee and team-mate Terry Cooke.

Under MLS rules, each side is allowed one star player who does not come under the salary cap - but the budget for the rest of the squad is limited to around £1million, or £50,000 per player per season.

By contrast Beckham will earn £500,000 a week from his salary, image rights and associated sponsorship - but not including personal endorsements.

Cooke said: 'It's a disgrace if it's true what I've heard about how much he's going to be earning. Obviously it's good for him, but we have a salary cap here for each team which is 1.9million (£1million) for a roster of 28 players.

'I love Becks to bits. He's a great player - we lived together in Manchester - and it's not his fault.

'I heard that the salary cap might be raised by a few hundred grand for next season. But even so, it doesn't matter who it is; you can't justify paying one player that sort of money.

'It's marketing money - but they've got to be careful, because this is what happened in the 1970s.

'They started throwing money about to Pele, George Best and those sorts of players - and it backfired. They're trying to do that again, but for the wrong reasons.'

Beckham, 31, insists he is not going for the money but to promote football in the USA.

He said: 'I didn't want to go out there at 34 years old and for people to turn around and say he's only going there to get the money. It's not what I'm going out there to do.

'I'm going to hopefully build a club and a team that has a lot of potential. I think that is what excites me.'

'Soccer in America is the biggest-played sport up to a certain age. That's where I want to take it to another level, I think it can go higher in America.

'There are so many great sports in the USA. Soccer is huge all around the world except in America and that's where I want to make a difference.'

In terms of finances, Beckham's deal and compares with the biggest in mainstream US sports. Baseball star Alex Rodriguez signed a 252million-dollar contract in 2000 with Texas Rangers, but that was over 10 years.

Beckham admitted it had been a tough decision and insisted he had no regrets about leaving Manchester United for Spain in July 2003, despite Real having failed to win a single honour since then.

He added: 'It has been a huge decision of mine and my family. We'll have been living in Spain for four years at the end of this season and I have played for two of the biggest clubs in the world. I have played at the highest level for 15 years and now I think I need another challenge.

'I've no regrets - I have never had any throughout my life and my career. To play in the white shirt for four years was an honour.

'To play with Zinedine Zidane was the biggest honour I have had in my football career, and it was also an honour to play with players such as Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos. For me, there are no regrets.

'For the rest of this season I will continue to give 100% to my coach, team mates and fans as I believe Fabio Capello will bring this club and its supporters the success they truly deserve.'

Beckham already has a soccer academy in Los Angeles which shares a home with the Galaxy.