David Beckham Won’t Be Returning To Milan, But England Is Another Matter
In a bid to temper his frustrations at catching a surprise second wind on the international scene after prematurely moving from the Real Madrid doldrums into a lucrative semi-retirement in the MLS sustain his fitness following the culmination of the American season in November, Beckham has returned to European football twice in the last two seasons – joining Italian giants AC Milan on loan on both occasions.
The 35-year-old, speaking in an interview with FIFA.com, said that it is unlikely (though not impossible) that he will pursue a similar move this term, as he believes he is still returning to full fitness after rupturing his achilles tendon six months ago – despite returning to Galaxy’s first-team earlier this month;
“I don’t think [I'll return to Europe]. I’ll never say never, but after my injury I need to really focus on getting my full fitness back. Physically I need to get myself back in order after a very long time out of the game. I can’t say for sure, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
When asked if we’d seen the last of him in an England shirt, Beckham inferred that he still has an eye on making a comeback for the national team, despite manager Fabio Capello hinting that his 115-cap international career could be over;
“No, I wouldn’t say that [you've seen the last of me]. But whether it’s over or not is not really down to me. I want to continue to be available to play for England. That’s all I can do. I am passionate about playing for my country and I have been for 15 years now.
Ever since I was a little kid all I ever wanted to do was to play for my country. Whether the road is over or not, I don’t really know, but I will continue to work hard to get my fitness right because that’s the important bit at the moment. Once I’ve done that, we’ll know more.”
Perhaps Beckham’s most telling quote came in response to the final question he faced. When asked what he thought he owed the game of football, the former Manchester United star replied;
“The game has given me everything. I owe a tremendous amount to the game. The biggest thing it’s given me is the opportunity to see the world, and have the experience of playing in some of the biggest leagues in the world and with some of the best teams in the world.
It’s given me the chance to give back to kids with my academies, and hopefully some of these young kids can go on to have a similar kind of experience. These are the things that I cherish about all these years I’ve been playing.”
I know many (this bitter scribe included) poke fun at him for his readiness to ‘go to market’ – and these quotes could just be sterile PR-conscious waffle we’ve all become accustomed to – but for a man in a position that would easily allow the ego to inflate to character-suffocating levels, Beckham’s perpetual local-boy-done-good brand of humility constantly serves as an anti-thesis to the grease-swathed preening nouvelle riche ‘superstars’ that populate his profession.
There, I said it.
You can read the full interview with David Beckham on FIFA.com