Juninho leaving Galaxy, David Beckham appears ready to follow
Juninho, who had a successful two-year run playing beside Beckham in the central midfield, has signed a three-year deal to return to Sao Paulo in his native Brazil.
An MLS All-Star last summer, the 22-year-old Juninho started 30 MLS games and scored four times -- with three of those goals winning games.
Meanwhile, the Paris daily Le Parisien says it has confirmed what has long been rumored, namely that Beckham will sign with French club Paris Saint-Germain after his five-year contract with the Galaxy officially expires on New Year's Eve.
The paper said the former English team captain, who turns 37 in May, has agreed in principle to an 18-month deal worth slightly more than $1 million a month. The contract also contains a potentially lucrative merchandising agreement.
However, a spokesman at Simon Fuller's company XIX Entertainment, which represents Beckham, says the reports are premature. "No agreement has been reached with any club yet; talks of a deal are premature. David has yet to make a final decision on his future," the spokesman said.
Beckham's contract with the Galaxy paid him $32.5 million over five seasons although, owing to injuries and time spent playing in Europe,he missed more than half the Major League Soccer team's games over than span. This season was his best in MLS, ending not only with a league championship but with inclusion on the league's postseason all-star team.
-- Kevin Baxter
Photo: Galaxy midfielder Juninho celebrates after scoring a goal against FC Dallas in August. Credit: Bret Hartman / Associated Press