Former England midfielder David Beckham announces his intention to leave football club Los Angeles Galaxy to find “one last challenge”.
Beckham has been playing for LA Galaxy since joining the club in 2007 on a contract that paid him $6m a year. He will play his last match for the club on 1 December when the team defends its title against Houston Dynamo.
Speculation around his next destination has focused on Australia, though there has also been talk of moves to China, the United Arab Emirates, France, Brazil and England.
Beckham told the Major League Soccer website: “I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.
“I don’t see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.”
Last week Football Federation Australia claimed they had been approached by representatives of the former Manchester United star, saying he was looking to spend time in the country’s A-League. A spokesman for Beckham said this was “rubbish”.
However, two clubs from Australia have already expressed an interest in signing the 37-year-old. Perth Glory, currently fourth in the A-League, tweeted this morning following the news.
DAVID BECKHAM | Has confirmed the MLS Cup final will be his last game for the Galaxy. The race is on.
— Perth Glory FC (@PerthGloryFC) November 20, 2012
Melbourne Heart, sitting in ninth, said they were putting forward an offer. Chief executive Scott Munn said: “This is absolutely legitimate.”
Beckham boosted the fortunes of LA Galaxy both as a brand and as a player. Though he got off to a rocky start, with some fans accusing him of being a “part-time player”, the club has aenjoyed financial success and a turnaround in form culminating in winning the MLS Cup last season.
During his time with the club he has been on loan twice to AC Milan.
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said: “When David Beckham signed with the LA Galaxy in 2007, he set out to help grow MLS and the sport of soccer in North America.
“There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived. David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the LA Galaxy and the league.”