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Beckenbauer's Beckham warning

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 29 July 2007

David Beckham should not expect an easy ride as the star player with LA Galaxy, according to Germany's Franz Beckenbauer.

Beckenbauer, who played for the New York Cosmos for four seasons from 1977, told BBC Radio that football in the United States is now completely different from when he played there.

"More than 20 million American kids are playing the game, and David can do a lot to make the game in the United States much more popular," he said.

He compared the present situation, where Americans are showing a "new appetite for the game", to his move to the US at a time when "nobody else played the game and we felt like pioneers".

'The Premier League at the moment is the best league in Europe.'
Franz Beckenbauer

Speaking in the same interview Beckenbauer, who led Germany to World Cup success as captain and manager, as well as spearheading his country's bid for the 2006 tournament, gave a boost to England's hopes of hosting the 2018 tournament.

"There is no better country in Europe to host the World Cup in 2018," he said. "The Premier League at the moment is the best league in Europe and the stadiums are outstanding."

His words were in contrast to those of Fifa President Sepp Blatter, who said this week that Europe had no divine right to expect to host the 2018 competition.

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