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Galaxy, AC Milan complete David Beckham deal

NEWSWIRE

As expected, the midfielder will remain with the Italian club through May and then play for L.A. from July on. Galaxy also announces plans to cut ticket prices.

March 08, 2009|Staff And Wire Reports

Weeks of haggling ended on Saturday when Major League Soccer's Galaxy and the Italian club AC Milan reached an agreement to share English midfielder David Beckham for the rest of 2009.

As a consequence of the deal, the Galaxy will play AC Milan in a friendly match at the Home Depot Center in Carson on July 19, and Galaxy ticket prices will be cut across the board by an average of 10% because Beckham will be available for less than half of the MLS season.

Those who already have bought tickets will be given refunds.

Under terms of the agreement, Beckham will remain on loan to AC Milan until the Serie A season ends on May 31. He will return to the Galaxy on July 1 and stay through the end of the MLS season on Nov. 22. At that point, he can opt to remain with the Galaxy or buy out the final two years on his five-year contract.

Beckham's first MLS match of 2009 will be on the road against the New York Red Bulls on July 16 at Giants Stadium. That game was moved from July 18 to allow for the Galaxy-AC Milan match in Carson.

"We did what we said we were going to do," said Tim Leiweke, the chief executive of AEG, which owns the Galaxy. "We brought Landon [Donovan] back and we brought David back. He's a little delayed, but they're both coming back."

Leiweke said Beckham was pleased with the outcome, which came after more than two months of sometimes tense negotiations.

"He's excited and happy and relieved," Leiweke said.

The Galaxy had sought between $10 million and $15 million for Beckham if AC Milan was intent on buying him outright, but the Italian club offered only $3 million and talks reached an impasse until the extended loan arrangement and AC Milan's visit to Los Angeles were agreed upon.

Meanwhile, Donovan, who played in his last game on loan to Bayern Munich on Saturday, will be taking on a greater leadership role when he rejoins the Galaxy on Tuesday, Leiweke said. For more on that and on the way the Beckham deal finally was struck, please go to latimes.com/sports/soccer.

-- Grahame L. Jones

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