David Beckham’s Career Crossroads

Here at Verbal Football, I’ll analyse David Beckham’s latest career crossroads. Despite hitting 37 years of age, David Beckham is still a professional footballer in demand. Whether it’s for his ‘brand’ or the fact that he can still dig deep and produce at the required level, Beckham is a man who most high-tier clubs still covet. As it stands Beckham has two ‘confirmed’ options. One is to join PSG on an 18 month deal, the other is two remain with LA Galaxy for the rest of his career.

PSG

The Parisian project is enticing for many reasons. In an ideal world, he’d win another league in a different country and he could test himself in a decent European League. Having Beckham around would also aide the likes of Pastore and Menez in terms of dealing with off field pressures that comes with a club rivalling Manchester City in terms of re-growth on the pitch and buzz amongst football fans. Joining PSG would also give Beckham the chance to perform in the UEFA Champions League and display his unique crossing talents to a global audience (which can sometimes be slightly cynical) once more.

Los Angeles Galaxy:

On the other hand, Beckham can opt to remain with in sunny California with LA Galaxy. We all know that Beckham’s family is settled in Los Angeles and Beckham has, in the main, enjoyed his MLS experience both on and off the pitch. I think Beckham would also relish defending the MLS Cup and thus, picking up another MLS Cup medal. Beckham would also have an even bigger target on his back from his ever vocal critics in the States and who better to silence them once and for all?.

Conclusion:

David Beckham has always been one who surprised most but not many. His move to LA was beyond unexpected as well as his successful loan stint at AC Milan. Beckham has stated that he wants to represent Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games, wouldn’t a base in Paris represent him with the best preparation to do so? Or would a more relaxed Los Angeles environment be best?. Watch this space.

Paul Batambuze.

Advertisements

LA Galaxy’s 2011 MLS Cup Play-Off Adventure

Here at Verbal Football, I’ll give a run-down on LA Galaxy’s 2011 MLS Cup adventure. With the 2011 MLS Cup Final taking place at The Home Depot Centre, it’s only fitting that I focus a piece on the team from Los Angeles.
As top seeds in the Western Conference, LA received a bye in the first round of MLS Cup playoffs. Up first was the team from New York also known as the New York Red Bulls. Don’t ask me how a team from LA and NY are facing each other in a Western Conference play-off, direct your questions to the MLS HQ.

LA Galaxy v NY Red Bulls

LA Galaxy won the first leg with an imperious display in New York. Mike Magee’s well taken half-volley in the 15th minute ensured LA had the advantage going into the second leg.
New York Red Bulls began the second leg, with the highly rated Ream in defence. Former Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax midfielder Teemu Tainio and a certain Thierry Henry upfront. The home side, LA Galaxy opted to replace the suspended Juninho with former Port Vale player, Chris Birchall in central midfield alongside David Beckham. Opting for Birchall made complete sense as Bruce Arena opted to be gung-ho in the first leg and found themselves slightly open whenever New York launched a counter-attack.
David Beckham put in a herculean effort on behalf of the Galaxy at The Home Depot Centre. Robbie Keane was both wasteful and greedy but at least showed himself for the ball compared to the anonymous Barrett. I wonder why Bruce Arena doesn’t put Mike Magee upfront where I feel he’d be more of a potent weapon for the LA Galaxy offence.

LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake

LA Galaxy competed with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final at Home Depot Centre for a place in the MLS Cup Final. To those who are unfamiliar with the MLS Play-Offs structure, this game was practically a semi-final, with the winner heading off to the MLS Cup final.
In this particular match, Mike Magee continued his impressive form with another goal. This time his winning effort was a header effort with the assist from you know who (David Beckham in case you were wondering). The Beckham – Magee tandem has been a valuable source of goals for LA Galaxy. Again, I was baffled as to why Magee isn’t allowed to have a free rein upfront. Either way, Beckham is still able to find him and that is exactly what happened in this match.

LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo

LA Galaxy reached the MLS Cup Final for the second time in as many years. The game was a chess match, with LA dominating the early proceedings. Adam Cristman was wasteful in front of goal and should’ve given LA a first half lead. Cristman will not be missed if he’s acquired in the upcoming MLS Supplemental Draft.
In the second half, Houston Dynamo came more out of their shells and forced the likes of Omar Gonzalez and De La Garza to defend on the back foot. However, in the 80th minute, David Beckham combined with Robbie Keane who in turn fed Landon Donovan with a sublime through ball which Donovan duly put in the net. Cue bedlam within the Home Depot Centre and utter joy when the referee signalled time at the end of the game. It was fitting that LA won the MLS Cup in their own backyard as well as in David Beckham’s last game for the Californian side.

The LA Galaxy Round-Up

LA Galaxy’s head coach Bruce Arena also received the 2011 MLS Coach of the Year … Unsurprisingly, David Beckham also received the 2011 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award. Beckham’s contribution to LA in the play-offs alone have demanded recognition for his work ethic and unsurpassed leadership qualities. LA Galaxy captain, Landon Donovan also won the MLS MVP for 2011. Roll on next season.

Robbie Keane’s L.A. Adventure

Robbie Keane’s surprise transfer to LA Galaxy is very intriguing on many levels. Does Keane feel as if he’s finished at the highest level of club football? How would Keane fit in once he arrives in LA? Where will Keane feature in the current set-up?.

From the outside looking in, it seems Keane would play upfront alongside Mike Magee or Chad Barrett. Both Magee and Barrett would provide a foil for Keane as well as being a physical option on the frontline with Keane providing the craft and relative pace. I think Keane and Barrett would be the best fit for now, although it would be a strike partnership lacking in mobility. Keane would also face competition for a starting berth from Adam Cristman, a player who has shoehorned his way into Bruce Arena’s thoughts as of late. As of yesterday, Keane lined up alongside Cristman and Continue reading

Juventus pay homage to Football history

Italian side Juventus have invited English League One side Notts County to play a Friendly on the 8th September to open the new stadium in Turin. The Juventus Arena replaces the depleted Stadio delle Alpi which never lived up to expectations since it was built for the 1990 Italian World Cup finals.

Notts County, the oldest Professional football club in the world were invited by Juventus after the historic links between the two clubs. It’s a well know fact and a favourite amongst football trivia that Juventus’ iconic black and white striped kit was taken from the Nottinghamshire side.

John Savage, an English man playing for Juventus in 1903 was the cause after having a friend from County send over replacement shirts for the Italian club who were playing in Pink at the time.

Juventus are expected to start in pink for the friendly and change kits at half-time. It’s a brilliant opportunity for Martin Allen, manager of County to take his League One side over to play the Serie A side, an opportunity most the squad would never have experienced.

Two bizarre transfers that make you scratch your head…

 In football there are always transfers that leave you feeling a bit dumbfounded about players, coaches and managers moving to certain clubs around the world. The likes of Robbie Fowler and Dwight Yorke making cameo appearances in the Australian League was surprising, but it makes sense, a Western civilisation and warmer weather, I am surprised why more players don’t move there.

Other strange moves or in a few cases recently have been managerial moves. Former Arsenal captain, Tony Adams is still the manager of Gabala FC who play in the Azerbaijan Premier League. Adams moved there in 2010 and finished 7th in his first season, I was expecting him to last a month at the most, fair play to him.

Like Adams, the stints Peter Reid and Bryan Robson had managing Thailand was another one that made me scratch my head but expectedly they did not last there long.

However, during the current transfer window, two transfers in particular have left me putting on my ‘confused face’ (ref: Four Lions) and I am struggling to fathom why both players in question decided to move. Continue reading