Kobe, Ruud and Glenn all chip in on the Beckham saga
Everyone and their brother these days seems to have an opinion on David Beckham and the taffy-pull that is going on between the Galaxy and AC Milan.
Some opinions, however, count for more than others, and if a certain occupant of Staples Center weighs in with his thoughts, Beckham is likely to listen to Los Angeles' biggest FC Barcelona fan.
So which side would Kobe Bryant take?
"Whatever he wants to do," Bryant told The Times' Mike Bresnahan. "American soccer is still years away from being able to compete with soccer on the world stage. He's obviously a global player. He obviously wants to play against the best and compete at that level. It's a tough call, but him being a friend, I want him to do what's best for him."
Also chipping in with some advice was Ruud Gullit, the former Dutch standout who has worked for both clubs. He played for AC Milan in his heyday and coached the Galaxy in his not-so-heyday.
"Every player wants to stay at the highest level, every player wants that," Gullit told BBC's Radio Five Live. "But knowing that you as a club [the Galaxy] would have a player who would be very disappointed that he was not allowed to stay at Milan, how do they think he will react?
"How would his colleagues treat him if he did come back?
"In the U.S., he has not played really, really well. Certainly not the level he has played at Milan. So therefore [if he does return] we have to see if he is going to play with the same strength and determination that he showed at Milan. That will be interesting to see."
At 33, Beckham is not likely to hang up his boots if he does not get his way, especially since Milan's medical and training staff have told him that he could play for another five or six years. Such encouragement is key, former England player and coach Glenn Hoddle told the Times of London.
"He's kept himself so fit and he will play for as long as he can," Hoddle said. "The training is the most important thing. Anyone can go out there and play in front of 80,000 people, but it's the training in between when your body and mind says, 'I've had enough of this.'
"But he's got the love of the game, he truly loves it, so I'm sure he can keep going."
The only question is, where?
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: David Beckham, with sons Brooklyn, left, and Romeo, wearing a Kobe Bryant Jersey. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press