Hot air in cold London as Leiweke speaks of Beckham and the World Cup
Is that what happened?
It sure seems so, judging by the remarks AEG's chief executive is reported to have made today at the Leaders in Football conference in England.
Playing to his audience, Leiweke lavished praise on David Beckham and said the Galaxy would be "honored" to again loan him to AC Milan and that the midfielder would stay on loan until the end of the European season in May, after which he would presumably join England's World Cup squad.
"We want to make sure he fulfills that dream," Leieweke said.
Nothing new there. That was always going to be Beckham's move.
Leiweke also told reporters that "we're not going to give him much time off this time -- he's going to have to earn his keep."
But AEG, Leieweke and the Galaxy have no choice in the matter. Players are entitled to time off after playing in international tournaments, so it will be at least two weeks after England's World Cup exit that Beckham would return to L.A., which could make it the last week in July if England gets to the July 11 final.
And then there was this astonishing comment from Leiweke, which went unquestioned: "We're honored to have a player of his magnitude playing at the World Cup. We're going to have four or five of them from the Galaxy at the World Cup and that is real progress for the league and the team."
Four or five? From the Galaxy? Like who? Does Coach Bruce Arena know this? Fact is, the only internationals on the Galaxy who are South Africa-bound are Beckham and Landon Donovan. No one else is going to the World Cup.
Unless, of course, Leiweke intends to sign two or three World Cup players before June 11. Is that what he was hinting at? Is AC Milan's Ronaldinho headed this way? Is anyone else?
Meanwhile, AC Milan itself appears more of a circus than the Galaxy was in recent years, what with rumors swirling around San Siro of the team being sold and of Coach Leonardo being fired. More on this and Beckham's intended move later today at http://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: Tim Leiweke, left, and David Beckham talk during a Lakers game in November 2008. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times