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Landon Donovan rips David Beckham in new book

According to excerpts published in Sports Illustrated, Donovan portrays Beckham as a bad teammate on the Galaxy.

July 03, 2009|Mario Aguirre

It's a feud that has a hint of Shaq and Kobe to it.

Galaxy forward Landon Donovan rekindled images of that squabble when he blasted teammate David Beckham in Grant Wahl's upcoming book, "The Beckham Experiment," scheduled for a July 14 release.

According to excerpts published in Sports Illustrated, Donovan portrays Beckham as a bad teammate, discusses pressure he received by Galaxy officials to give up his captaincy for Beckham when the English soccer star arrived in 2007, and the widespread influence that Beckham and Terry Byrne, his best friend and personal assistant, had on team management.

A Galaxy spokesperson said Thursday that Donovan would not comment until the book is released. The Galaxy also declined to comment.

In the excerpts, Donovan questioned Beckham's commitment to the team when a suspended Beckham did not attend a game in Houston last year. The Galaxy lost that game to the Dynamo and was eliminated from playoff contention. Donovan also said Beckham did not attend some optional practices and didn't rally together his teammates during rough stretches in his first two seasons with the team.

"I can't think of another guy where I'd say he wasn't a good teammate, he didn't give everything through all this, he didn't still care," Donovan is quoted as saying last August. "But with [Beckham] I'd say no, he wasn't committed."

The book also says that Byrne was hired as a Galaxy consultant and had a hand in finding a successor for Galaxy coach Frank Yallop.

It was Byrne who stood before Galaxy players in the locker room to introduce Ruud Gullit as the Galaxy's new head coach; Gullit signed a three-year deal in November 2007. "That was weird for me," said Galaxy defender Chris Klein in the excerpt. "Alexi Lalas is the general manager of this team, and then here's this other guy [Byrne] presenting our new coach. I was like, 'What is going on here?' "

Gullit resigned as coach in August for personal reasons.

"When Wayne Gretzky was with the Kings, Wayne had a lot of input on the Kings' direction player-personnel wise," Tim Leiweke, chief executive of AEG, which owns the Galaxy, is quoted as saying in Wahl's book. "It's just a fact. You had a dominant guy that was the franchise. When Magic Johnson was with the Lakers, Magic had a lot of input about the direction they were headed. So does Kobe [Bryant] today. When David or his people spoke, we obviously listened."

The book also portrays Beckham as stingy about picking up the dinner check when he went out with teammates.

"All that we care about at a minimum is that he committed himself to us," Donovan said in the excerpts. "As time has gone on, that has not proven to be the case in many ways -- on the field, off the field.

"Does the fact that he earns that much money come into it? Yeah. If someone's paying you more than anybody in the league, more than double anybody in the league, the least we expect is that you show up to every game, whether you're suspended or not. Show up and train hard. Show up and play hard."

Beckham will play his first MLS game of the season when the Galaxy plays the New York Red Bulls on July 16.


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