David Beckham has hinted for the first time that he may not see out his lucrative five-year contract with American MLS club Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 34-year-old has openly admitted all year that he will seek another loan move with a European club to boost his chances of playing for England at the 2010 World Cup finals, but he has always insisted that he remains committed to the Galaxy. However, his latest comments, ahead of England’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday, suggest that he may activate a get-out clause in his contract, which runs until 2012. “I will finish the MLS season. After that, everybody knows that I’ll be coming back to play somewhere,” said Beckham, who is hoping to win his 114th international cap at Wembley, having been an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-1 friendly win against Slovenia. “LA Galaxy know that. If it upsets a few people, I can’t do anything about it. I keep saying how much I enjoy playing over there and how committed I am to the Galaxy — I think I will be back there after the World Cup. “But there is a possibility that the contract might break in the autumn, and I do have options. Milan have made me aware that they want me to go back there and I’m more than happy with that. “But I have also had another three or four offers, so when the time is right, I will decide.”
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The midfielder’s loan move to Italy in January caused a falling-out with U.S. national captain and clubmate Landon Donovan, while Beckham also clashed with fans upon his return to action with the MLS side in July. Beckham had previously played down rumors of any imminent departure — Milan reportedly refused to make a permanent offer for him in the knowledge that he had a cut-price get-out clause — and has recently agreed to appear in adverts promoting California alongside Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Beckham is competing with Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips for a starting place on the right against Croatia, as England seek to avenge the 3-2 defeat at Wembley which cost them a place at Euro 2008 and saw manager Steve McClaren sacked. His replacement Fabio Capello has guided England to the top of Group Six with seven wins from seven, and another victory on Wednesday against second-placed Croatia will clinch an automatic place at the finals in South Africa with two games to play. Capello gave an indication of his plans for the match when he started Manchester City winger Wright-Phillips against Slovenia and then brought on Lennon in the second half, with the Tottenham player making a big impact.