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David Beckham says feud with Landon Donovan is over

Beckham returns to practice with the Galaxy. Of the criticism leveled at him by Donovan, his teammate, Beckham says 'it's finished' and that they will 'move on,' but he offers no details.

July 14, 2009|GRAHAME L. JONES

Just when we thought the David Beckham experiment -- to borrow a popular phrase -- would soon be coming to an end, there were signs Monday that it could be a longer-running production than expected.

So don't be surprised if Beckham and his Galaxy teammate and new best pal Landon Donovan appear together in Major League Soccer's All-Star game in Sandy, Utah, on July 29. It might well happen.

Although they have not exactly kissed and made up, their mini-feud is history. At least for now.

Look too for Beckham to probably be heading back on loan to AC Milan in January, and then to return to the Galaxy for at least a few months, and possibly for a season or two, once the 2010 World Cup in South Africa is over.

In other words, the Home Depot Center in Carson, strangely enough, just might be where the 34-year-old former Manchester United and Real Madrid star ends his storied soccer career.

"I intend to stay until the end of my contract and maybe further," Beckham said Monday about his plans with the Galaxy. "I've always said that. I've always said, even when I went to Milan, that I'm committed to the Galaxy and to MLS, and that hasn't changed."

In Beckham's view, Los Angeles has its pluses.

"My family is happy here," he said. "The kids are happy. . . . There are always going to be people speculating whether we're going to go back to England or Europe, but I can't say enough about how happy my kids and my family are here."

Sweetness and light were not what the dozens of reporters, photographers and television crews that showed up at the Home Depot Center on Monday morning wanted to hear. They were tracking the blood in the water. They wanted more on the Donovan-Beckham spat.

It was not forthcoming.

A meeting with Beckham, Donovan and Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena at a time and place no one would reveal had put a lid on the controversy that bubbled over when Donovan was quoted making unflattering remarks about Beckham in a new book, "The Beckham Experiment," by Grant Wahl.

"It's over," Beckham said. "I'm not going to talk about what was said. That's between me, Landon and the manager. But it's finished. It's over. So we move on.

"We spoke, the two of us, and also Bruce, and like I said, it's finished."

Donovan, while not exactly apologizing, said he was sorry for the fuss that his honestly stated opinions in the book caused, including describing last season as "miserable" and saying he wanted to see Beckham benched if he was not going to show some effort.

"There's a lot of things I regret," Donovan said Monday. "I regret the way that I went about this and I regret some of the things I said. For me, it's not a fiasco. I knew what I was doing. I was not the smartest in those moments."

Donovan indicated he and Beckham had patched things up.

"We're getting past it, we're moving on," Donovan said, adding that any lingering ill will had not been evident during practice. "Being on the field was great. It was fun. It was good to have him back."

Longtime Galaxy star and current assistant coach Cobi Jones had his own take.

"It's an awkward situation," Jones said. "Landon has recognized that he handled it the wrong way. That's what it's all about. For me, everything should be within the team and the organization. You don't go outside of that.

"I think Landon realizes that. I think David's handling it the right way. They're going to keep it within the group."

For Beckham, with a family vacation in the south of France and a 10th wedding anniversary trip to the Seychelles Islands behind him, his immediate future is clear.

He and the Galaxy leave for New Jersey today for a Thursday night game against the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium. After that comes a Sunday evening friendly against AC Milan in Carson.

Beckham said it might be a while before a decision is made on where he goes in January.

"I think we've got a couple of months," he said. "Obviously, Milan have expressed that they want me to go back. So I don't see any reason why that would change, but we'll have to wait and see. I hope to be going back there."

If AC Milan does change its mind, which seems unlikely, there have been nibbles for Beckham from some teams in England's Premier League.

"We've had a few phone calls from a few Premiership clubs, but obviously none that I can talk about," he said.

--

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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