David Beckham silenced even his most vocal critics with a trademark goal from a free-kick but his Los Angeles Galaxy team were beaten 2-1 by European champions Barcelona on Saturday night.
The prestige friendly was watched by a massive 93,137 crowd at the Pasadena Rose Bowl and the 34-year-old Beckham was again subjected to catcalls and barracking from disenchanted Galaxy fans. Pedro Rodriguez put the Catalan giants ahead after fine work by Lionel Messi, but Beckham stepped up to curl home a magnificent free-kick from outside the penalty area on the stroke of half time. It was a timely reminder of his abilities after a controversial return to the United States, following his extended loan spell at AC Milan, which caused the England midfielder to miss the start of the MLS season. He has twice been involved in confrontations with fans who questioned his commitment and Beckham knows he faces a tough time in winning them back over despite his superb goal.
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“Maybe, maybe not,” he told reporters. “If I did then great, if not, then I’m not going to lose any sleep. “Like I said before, I always work hard for the team, I work hard for the manager and I work hard for the fans. Sometimes it’s good enough, sometimes it’s not. “But I enjoyed my goal tonight. “There’s going to be the odd reaction from a minority of people. “But 95, 97 percent of the fans have been incredible.” Striker Jeffren Suarez spoilt the Beckham party in the 67th minute with the winner for Barcelona, who dominated the game for large spells. Beckham, who was substituted shortly before the end, was given a good reception by the crowd, the biggest for a match in the United States since the World Cup 15 years ago.