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Family, US soccer boost helped keep Beckham in LA

David Beckham said on Thursday that his desire to continue football's growth in the United States and his family's happiness prompted him to stay with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

In an interview with Google broadcast over YouTube, the former English captain explained his reasons for snubbing a rich offer from Paris St. Germain and signing a two-year deal to remain in Major League Soccer.

"At 36 years old, you don't expect to still get these offers. That was nice," Beckham said.


PIC/AFP

"It was about where I think the future of the game is going in the US and where my family is happiest and at this moment they are happiest in America. They love living here and we're going to continue to stay here and enjoy it."

By the end of his new contract, Beckham figures to be looking at retirement.

"I will play the game as long as I can," Beckham said. "I would still be playing this game even if I wasn't being paid for it -- not that I don't want to be paid for it.

"My contract is for two years. Then I'll be almost 39. So we'll see. I am excited about these next couple of years."

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star signed a five-year deal worth $32.5 million with the Galaxy that expired at the end of last month in a bid to spur interest in the game in America.

MLS had only 12 teams in 2006 when Beckham arrived but now boasts 19 clubs with nine new stadiums constructed for MLS clubs in the past five years.

"I felt it change the last couple of years and I didn't want to walk away from it," Beckham said. "To walk away would have been disapponting. I've been part of that growth and I want to continue to be part of that."

Beckham said his wife Victoria, the former Spice Girls star, and his three sons and six-month-old daughter Harper were major factors in his choice also.

"They have the final answer. It's as simple as that," Beckham said, drawing laughter from an audience at Google headquarters.

"That sounded wrong. When you are married and have a family, your priorities change. It's all about them."

Even Harper played a role.

"Her wardrobe is ridiculous already," Beckham said. "I'm glad I got a two-year contract."

Asked whether he thought England or the United States would win the World Cup first, Beckham moaned, "That's a terrible question to ask me," but backed his homeland.

"I'm going to have to say England. I've got a lot of respect for the US team. They have very talented players. I believe at some point England is going to win a World Cup. We have some great players that are very passionate. It's the birthplace of the sport.

"The US is just a few years behind us."

Asked how the Galaxy would fare in England's Premier League, Beckham quickly replied with a smile, "We would win it."

"We would do well in the Premiership. It would be interesting. I think we would do well over there. It might be a bit cold over there for a few players in December but I think we would do well."

Beckham said he "would love to be part of" Britain's football squad at the London Olympics later this year and rated his part in London's successful bid among his proudest moments.

"To be part of a successful bid, it's one of the proudest things I've ever been a part of," he said.

Beckham said his biggest US-British culture shock came when son Brooklyn was drawing and asked him for "rubbers" to the shock of some American friends -- "He now calls them erasers."

A moderator mentioned Beckham's new underwear advertising campaign and asked "How big is this thing going to get?" to which Beckham replied, "Another pun" and after the laughter subsided added, "The pictures are good, which I'm happy about."

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