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Beckham took pay cut to seal Galaxy switch


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Beckham took pay cut to seal Galaxy switch

By Sam Wallace, Football Correspondent

Published: 14 June 2007

Real Madrid may have tried to tempt David Beckham out of leaving for the Los Angeles Galaxy this summer but the former England captain was so determined to go that he has taken a pay cut in his basic salary to move to America. The tentative offer of an extra year in Spain would have earned Beckham around twice the money he will be paid when he goes to LA next month.

While the fanfare around Beckham's move to America in January centred upon an extraordinary figure of £128m over five years, figures released by the players' union in America reveal that his guaranteed salary for the year is actually $6.5m (£3.29m). The £128m figure is understood to be a projection of his total earnings, including potential endorsements outside football.

Real Madrid might be unable to offer the lucrative access to Hollywood of a career in LA but they were ready to pay him a much higher basic salary. When Real's president Ramon Calderon suggested last weekend that the club were exploring the possibility of keeping Beckham - an idea swiftly knocked down by the LA Galaxy - they would have been ready to offer the 32-year-old an extra year on his existing £120,000-a-week salary.

Beckham signed a £6.29m-a-year deal in 2003 that expires this summer and, given Real's recent change of heart, the least he could have expected was the same again. He might even have been able to negotiate more for one extra year at the Bernabeu. Instead he has opted to be the highest earner in America's Major League Soccer where his salary is more than double the second highest-paid player, the Mexican Cuauhtemoc Blanco who earns £1.4m playing for the Chicago Fire.

The disparity between Beckham's basic salary with the LA Galaxy and what he earned at Real Madrid shows just how much work has to be done to ensure that he is able to make the annual £25m target through bonuses and endorsements. His wife Victoria is launching her career with a fly-on-the-wall documentary about her own life incongruously described as a "reality show". The club have already begun selling a special "Beckham pack" of tickets to supporters, which includes the games against FC Dallas and Chivas USA, and cost £253 each.

That local derby against Chivas on 23 August is under threat from Beckham's participation in the England friendly against Germany at Wembley the previous day. So far the LA Galaxy have made no firmer commitment about the schedule of Beckham's arrival other than to say that he will join up with the club next month and is set to make his debut in the friendly against Chelsea on 21 July.

For the LA Galaxy, who have lost five games in a row and have the worst current record in the league, Beckham cannot join soon enough, although on the basis of his salary alone, his team-mates will be expecting great things. They will know to the nearest cent how much he earns from a glance at the MLS salaries list which details the wages of every player with an openness that would make the Premiership blush.

After Beckham and Blanco, the next highest earner is the former Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel who will pick up £812,000 at the New York Red Bulls this season. Landon Donovan is the LA Galaxy's second highest earning player on £456,000.

Many have been less lucky. The well-travelled former QPR striker Danny Dichio will have to settle for £80,000 this season at Toronto FC - about five days work for Andrei Shevchenko.

The former Everton, Liverpool and Middlesbrough defender Abel Xavier, who is also with the LA Galaxy might wish to have a word with his agent: his listed salary is £79,000 a year.

Beckham himself is recovering from an ankle injury in time for Sunday's game against Real Mallorca where a win would seal the Spanish league title.

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