Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
David Beckham attended an Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) Gala Dinner at Emirates Palace marina. Handout photo
David Beckham attended an Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) Gala Dinner at Emirates Palace marina. Handout photo

David Beckham cryptic about move to UAE Pro League

Al Jazira may sever ties with Fernandinho as the former Manchester United and LA Galaxy star fuels speculation during a visit to Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // David Beckham, the former England captain who is looking for a new team, and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, owner of the Manchester City football club and chairman of the UAE side Al Jazira, attended the same invitation-only gala dinner for a magazine launch at the Emirates Palace marina last night.

Beckham has been linked in the international media with a move to a Middle East team. When asked by The National if he "might be joining us at Jazira", he replied: "We'll see."

It was not the sort of answer likely to quell speculation that the next and perhaps last stop in his championship-studded club career will be with the Abu Dhabi side who won a Pro League championship in 2011 and the President's Cup in both 2011 and 2012.

Earlier, an Al Jazira official said he "had no idea" if Beckham were in the capital or would meet with Sheikh Mansour.

Beckham, 37, was one of several prominent sports figures at the event for the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. Seated to his right was Reggie Jackson, the baseball Hall of Famer, and on the other side of the large tent sat Serena Williams, owner of 15 grand slam tennis titles.

Beckham, cutting a trim figure in a dark blue suit and looking younger than his 37 years, made a point of crossing the room to see Williams, and spoke to her briefly. And he stopped again for more photos by star-struck guests.

Media reports have suggested that the Qatari side Al Sadd are interested in Beckham, but perhaps for the 2013/14 season. He also was linked with Al Wasl, the Dubai club, who reportedly denied interest in the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy midfielder.

It seems highly unlikely Beckham would be interested in playing for Manchester City, given his long tenure at United, but a move to a UAE club would further broaden "Brand Beckham", the term often applied to the business ventures endorsed by the athlete and his wife, Victoria, and put him in the Middle East and the Muslim world for the first time.

Jazira have been known for paying top salaries in the Pro League; the two most expensive acquisitions in Pro League history, the Brazilian forwards Ricardo Oliveira and Rafael Sobis, each joined Jazira.

Perhaps coincidentally, Jazira in recent weeks have given limited playing time to the Brazilian attacking player Fernandinho, who has lost his place in the first XI to the Emirati forward Ali Mabkhout. Were Jazira to sever ties with Fernandinho, that would open a slot in the January transfer window for another non-Emirati to join the side.

Jazira have stuggled at times in midfield, where Ibrahim Diaky and Subait Khater are past their primes yet logging significant minutes. Beckham's time with England saw him on the right side of midfield, serving those famous long balls to grateful attackers, but with the Galaxy he often played in the middle of the park.

Recently, the UAE football pundit Kefah Al Kaabi suggested Beckham would bring more attention to UAE football than did the former Wasl coach Diego Maradona, because Beckham remains an active player.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Barcelona’s Lionel Messi plays with a rugby ball during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, near Barcelona in Sant Joan Despi, April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

In pictures: Barca play a little rugby before Copa del Rey final

Barcelona and Real Madrid will play in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday night but the day before the match, Braca players played a little rugby during a training session at Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training camp, in Sant Joan Despi, Spain. Barca meet Real Madrid on Wednesday at 11.30pm (UAE time) and the match will be on BeIn Sports.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Faisal Al Ketbi, standing, has been the poster boy for the upcoming Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Courtesy of Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Faisal Al Ketbi is in spotlight for world jiu-jitsu championships at Abu Dhabi

Faisal Al Ketbi is the poster boy for UAE jiu-jitsu, with his picture prominent in the billboards and advertisements for this week’s Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

 Abdelaziz Haikal, left, avoids getting tackled, but his Al Ahli side were forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal, from Saudi Arabia. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli miss huge opportunity to progress in ACL

Dubai side forced to a goalless draw at home to Al Hilal. Ahmed Rizvi reports.

 Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, left, gestures from his car after winning the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur on March 30, 2014. He will be among the favourites at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones

F1: Mercedes look to capitalise on woes at Red Bull and Ferrari

Ferrari were left reeling after team principal Stefano Domenicali quit and Red Bull were handed a setback when they lost their appeal for Daniel Ricciardo as both incidents have heightened the mood at Mercedes ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix.

 Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa could be wearing a blue kit next season at Chelsea in the English Premier League. REUTERS/Susana Vera

Atletico’s Diego Simeone cannot stop Diego Costa move to Chelsea

Diego Costa has been the standout player for Atletico Madrid with his 26 goals, which has attracted the attention of several leading European clubs and Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are reportedly at the front of the queue.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National