English star midfielder David Beckham is set for the final bow in his five-year Major League Soccer adventure, and he hopes to go out a winner by making the Los Angeles Galaxy a championship side.
The 36-year-old playmaker has not decided where he might play next year, with Paris Saint-Germain and English Premier clubs Tottenham and Queens Park Rangers among those interested in him as his contract enters its last matches.
It could end as suddenly as Thursday in a home playoff encounter against New York. The Galaxy won the opening leg 1-0 on the road so they are favoured to advance. That would put Los Angeles within one victory of the 20 November MLS Cup Final on their home field, where Beckham could win the title he arrived in 2006 eager to achieve.
"If you look at statistics and the games I've played, it's the best season since I moved to LA," Beckham said after practice on Wednesday. "It's nice to have that at 36 years old, because people start to doubt you."
Beckham has been the set-up man for 15 Galaxy goals after loan offers were rejected for the MLS off-season, leaving him fit for a full MLS campaign starting last March.
"I don't think he would ever need to prove he was worth bringing here," said Galaxy coach Bruce Arena. "He has done great things for this franchise and great things for this league. I'm happy it's turning out this way for David."
There's no doubt that Beckham boosted the profile of the league as he tried to lift the game in the eyes of US audiences. Helped by a solid USA performance into the last 16 at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, football has a strong foothold in the land of gridiron gladiators clad in helmets and pads.
And Beckham has a chance to look to the future, even if he isn't sure where it will take him. "There are always new goals," Beckham said. "There's a lot of things that I've enjoyed here and will continue to enjoy."
Does that mean Beckham might sign on for another stint with the Galaxy? The only man who knows for sure isn't talking about it until after the MLS playoffs.