Keep on bending it, Beckham!
David Beckham is a well known soccer player. He's been one of the main player in the England soccer team and he's a fashion and style icon. He's married to Victoria "Posh Spice" Adams and in the last few years, he has been featured on magazines' covers more for his activities as a socialite and a celebrity than for his soccer achievements.
When in 2007 he announced that would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy, many European sport journalists and soccer fans thought that his star was dimming and that he was going to end is career gracefully, the highest paid player in MLS history, and with an open option for a new start in Hollywood.
Flash forward to now and everything has changed.
Let us recap what has happened so far. In 2008, Beckham's success in the England national team led to speculation that he may return to Europe in order to retain match fitness for the 2009 World Cup qualifying matches.
By the end of 2008, Milan AC, the soccer team owned by Italy's current Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, announced their intent to sign him on loan from January 2009. Despite this and other speculation, Beckham made it clear that the move in no way signaled his intent to leave MLS and announced his intent to return to the Galaxy in time for the start of the 2009 season in March.
The same sport journalists and soccer fans that commented on his move to Los Angeles, dismissed the loan to Milan as a pure marketing move.
Beckham played just a few unofficial and official matches with Milan and two things became immediately clear. First of all, Beckham star is not dimming at all. The 33 years old player looks at least 10 years younger. He runs, tackles, scores and assists his teammates with all the enthusiasm of a newcomer that wants to impress his peers while having the time of his life.
Second, the wise and intelligent player offers the equilibrium between the stellar forward section of Milan and the less-than-stellar rear section of the team. An equilibrium much needed by Milan, one of the World's strongest soccer team, that has failed many important tests in the last years.
It took Beckham just four matches to prove himself unvaluable for the club and gain a place in the main team, at the expenses of Brazilian player Ronaldinho, Milan's last summer big market score.
Rumors began to swirl that Beckham would stay in Milan, even if the club had an agreement with the Galaxy to send the player back by the end of February. Rumors became fact when Beckham stated that he was seeking a permanent transfer to Milan and Milan promptly announced to be ready to do everything possible to grant Beckham wishes.
Milan, Galaxy and Beckham's lawyers are now in frantic negotiations to reach an agreement before the start of Major League 2009 season in March. It seems very likely that Beckham will stay in Milan and Los Angeles Galaxy will receive a compensation in the 15 to 20 million dollar range.
Gossip aficionado say that behind all this machinations there's the hand of Mrs. Beckham, much more at home in elegant and trendy Milan, one of Europe's fashion capitals and just a couple of hours of flight away from her native England. Everybody remembers that on her first day in town she spent the afternoon shopping in the center of Milan escorted by her long time friends Dolce and Gabbana, the famed fashion designers.
FIFA, the International Soccer Association, wants a say in the matter, too. As President Michel Platini said, this loan can set a dangerous precedent: after Beckham's case, nothing would stop a club from "loaning" a champion currently not committed with his main team for just a few matches or even for a single match, like a championship final.
Whatever the case, nobody can deny Beckham's current match fitness and performances in the game field. England has got his Captain back and one of soccer biggest stars is shining brighter.