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Nov 29, 2007

Beckham branded 'incredible marketing machine'

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber believes David Beckham's first season in the US has been a big success - largely because of his function as 'an incredible marketing machine'.

Beckham has struggled with injury for much of his time with Los Angeles Galaxy after injuring his ankle in his final appearance for Real Madrid, but he has still managed to raise the team's profile - both on and off the field - during his stay and Garber insists the signing of the former England skipper has already paid off.

He told The Sun: 'David was really a home run for us, to use a baseball analogy.

'He's going to make £125million when his five years are up - I really believe that.

'Just look at what he's been able to generate this year. He is just an incredible marketing machine.

'And a lot of that has to do with him being quite the celebrity. If I was a sponsor I would want him to represent me because he's just a quality guy.'

Garber also hopes the arrival of a player of Beckham's stature, while still playing international football, will pave the way for more Europe-based stars to follow his lead.

'I would also hope to see guys like Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry, who has expressed an interest in coming here at the end of his contract with Barcelona.

'I hope to see at some point, certainly during my tenure as commissioner, players like that in Major League Soccer.

'With Beckham being successful and being signed, it's hard to imagine you wouldn't see players like that in MLS.'