Former England captain David Beckham has announced that he is to leave Real Madrid CF at the end of this season to sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer (MLS) team Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 31-year-old's deal with Madrid, which he signed on leaving Manchester United FC in 2003, expires in the summer and Beckham has decided not to remain in Spain. "This week Real Madrid asked me to make a decision regarding my future and the offer to extend my contract for a further two seasons," Beckham told the Reuters new agency. "After discussing several options with my family and my advisers to either stay here in Madrid or join other major British and European teams I have decided to join LA Galaxy and play in the MLS from August this year."
The nine-time European champions have confirmed the news, a club statment reading: "Real Madrid, through its sporting staff, held a meeting with David Beckham's agents this morning at the Santiago Bernabéu offices. After the meeting, both parties agreed that David will not extend his contract with the club, which is due to expire on 30 June 2007."
UEFA Champions League winner
Londoner Beckham began his career at United, making his debut aged 17 in 1992. After a loan spell at Preston North End FC, he went to win six Premiership titles and two FA Cups at the club - together with the UEFA Champions League crown in 1998/99. He made his England debut in 1996 and was made captain in 2000, a role he held until the end of the FIFA World Cup last summer, by which time he had picked up 94 caps and scored 17 goals - including a famous last-gasp free-kick against Greece that took his nation to Korea/Japan 2002. A year later he joined Madrid but, with starting opportunities scarce under coach Fabio Capello, Beckham has now decided on a new challenge.
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