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Aug 13, 2008

Beckham 'disappointed' but backs Gullit decision

David Beckham admits he is 'disappointed' by Ruud Gullit's decision to walk out on Los Angeles Galaxy, but accepts his choice if life was not working out for him in California.

It was reported that Beckham's influence led to Gullit's departure but Tim Leiwke, chief executive of the AEG group that owns the club said: 'To those who claim there was influence [by Beckham], this was my decision solely.

'I don't think David knew about this decision until the team meeting.'

Gullit resigned for 'personal reasons' on Monday, and was followed out of the door by the man who brought Beckham to Major League Soccer - Galaxy general manager Alexi Lalas - who was fired.

The moves come after a seven-game losing streak saw the Galaxy slip out of play-off contention and speculation has been rife that Gullit may have jumped before he was pushed.

But Beckham denied that, and said Gullit had to do what was right for him.

'Obviously, it's disappointing,' he told the Los Angeles Times. 'It's disappointing to lose somebody who's a good coach and a good person.

'It happens in football clubs and it's happened here. Maybe it happened too early, but we wish him good luck in whatever he goes on and does.

'He was comfortable with the players,' Beckham added. 'It's different for him to coach here than it is in Europe, but I think he adapted really well.

'He's taken the decision to move on because of family reasons and everyone knows family always comes first, so good luck to him.'

However, other players disputed that view, with United States captain Landon Donovan revealed he had not always seen eye to eye with Gullit.

'Believe it or not, it was actually better toward the end,' Donovan said. 'Initially, he was a little hard on me. I was always fine with that as long as it was respectful.

'At times it was a little disrespectful and that bothered me. But I think he figured out that as long as he treated me respectfully he could say things to me and I would get on with it. So I would characterise it as good at the end.

'From Ruud's standpoint, I think it's been difficult for him... because it's not what he was used to growing up. If you've been in a certain way of soccer for 40 years and you come somewhere where you can't get the players you want, you can't do the things you want, you don't have an unlimited budget, you have other issues around you that affect things, then it makes it very difficult.

'So I understand his frustration with all that. It's not easy and not a lot of foreign coaches have done well here for that reason.'

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