Beckham move dazzles press


NEW YORK -- Hailed as North America's soccer savior, David Beckham received a rousing welcome from the media Friday after signing a whopping $250 million deal to leave Real Madrid for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Even in the U.S. where multimillion-dollar signings are commonplace, Beckham's eye-popping contract caught the attention of sports fans from Los Angeles to Major League Soccer's (MLS) newest and most northern outpost in Toronto.

'Spend it like Beckham' read a headline in the Chicago Tribune.

The Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper, splashed a picture of the former England captain and his wife, ex-Spice Girl Victoria, across the front page and wondered 'Can Becks Charm the U.S.?'

Beckham also shared the front page of the New York Times with President Bush.

'A Soccer Star Heeds Lure of Hollywood' said the Times pointing out Beckham was likely to make more headlines off the pitch than on it.

"David Beckham has never been simply a sports star," said the Times. "He is a brand and one who briefly lived at the spot where fashion, celebrity and soccer met.

"The soccer component of that equation has eroded but his star power still reverberates worldwide, so much that Major League Soccer has lured Beckham to Los Angeles."

The Los Angeles Times declared Beckham's signing the most important development in the league's history.

"With a flourish of a pen, the league not only made the most significant move in its 11-year existence but also one of the most potentially far-reaching acquisitions in American sports history," wrote Grahame L Jones.

Perhaps there will be no greater test of Beckham's marketing muscle than in New York where MLS will try to battle with Major League Baseball, the NBA, NFL and NHL for a share of the crowded sporting spotlight.

For one day at least Beckham held his own, the New York Daily News saying 'Beckham Deal Spices Up MLS'.

The New York Post labeled the 31-year-old midfielder a 'Soccer savior.'

"Sometimes a budding league and an iconic star meet at just the right time, like Joe Namath all but forcing the NFL-AFL merger or Pele legitimizing the North American Soccer League," said the Post.

"Yesterday was that day for Major League Soccer, the day David Beckham's signing put the league on the U.S. sporting scene and the world soccer stage."