LOS ANGELES // David Beckham will remain on loan with AC Milan for the remainder of the season. The Los Angeles Galaxy announced late yesterday that they had struck a "multimillion dollar deal" to enable the former England captain to remain with the Serie A club until the end of the Italian domestic season, then return to the Galaxy in July. The Galaxy had sought US$10million (Dh2,722,570) for the outright purchase of Beckham, but Milan officials had only offered $3m.
The two sides were negotiating for weeks and reached agreement on the loan extension hours before it was due to expire after Milan's game with Atalanta on Sunday. "I'm really grateful to the LA Galaxy and AC Milan for making this dream deal happen," Beckham said in the statement. "It allows me to play for AC Milan and the LA Galaxy in the same year, and also to continue my commitment to develop soccer in the United States, which is something I am passionate about."
The announcement came three weeks after Major League Soccer's (MLS) Feb 13 deadline to resolve the situation. "Much has been written and said but all along it has been our intention to keep David Beckham as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy," the Galaxy president and chief executive Tim Leiweke said in a statement. "We are pleased he is returning and at the same time, we feel it is important to allow him to finish his run in Milan, as it has been a remarkable run."
The 33-year-old former Manchester united midfielder repeatedly said he wanted to stay with Milan to improve his chances of making England's team for next year's World Cup and described his experience there as "incredible". Beckham has a five-year contract with the MLS worth $32.5m, and it includes a clause that would allow him to leave at the end of this year. The Galaxy opens the MLS season on March 22.
Beckham will not become eligible to play in league games until the international transfer window reopens on July 15. That means Beckham's first game with the Galaxy will be July 16 against the New York Red Bulls, which will be moved up two days from its original date on the league schedule. The change is necessary to accommodate another part of the deal, an exhibition between Milan and the Galaxy in Los Angeles on July 19.