Where will "golden balls" take his one man brand to next?
Having announced his intention to leave LA Galaxy and the MLS, there is a lot of interest and speculation as to which club David Beckham will use as his final hoorah.
Sports Interactive placed Beckham in seven different clubs with which he was, at one time or another, linked with, and simulated the rest of his career with Football Manager 2013. If the results are any sort of indication, Becks will probably be best served heading over to France or China, as he did quite well with PSG, Monaco and Shanghai. Interestingly enough, stints at AC Milan, Man Utd, Real Madrid, and even QPR all ended up disappointingly, with Beckham making very few appearances for those teams. Though it says here that 'Arry "I'm a Football Manager" Redknapp will surely move heaven and earth to accommodate his pal David if Beckham ever moved to QPR.
Have a look at the simulation results and let us know in the comments section where you think Beckham will end up!
Beckham at Monaco
Monaco have emerged as one of the leading contenders for Beckham’s signature with rumours abound that talks are set to begin soon. They currently play in the second tier of French football but Beckham would fit in with the residents of the principality, the majority of whom are multi-millionaires. Beckham is easily Monaco’s best player after he joins the club. He averages 7.98 in 17 appearances and creates an incredible 11 assists for his team-mates as Monaco easily win Ligue 2. He also becomes a key player for the team in Ligue 1, as Monaco finish 10th, averaging a rating of 7.58 across 27 appearances. By the end of the simulation Beckham has become a fan favourite at the club.
Beckham at QPR
QPR head coach Harry Redknapp has said that he would like Beckham to help lead his team off the bottom of the Premier League. Redknapp tried to sign Beckham when he was head coach at Tottenham Hotspur but could not agree a loan transfer with Galaxy. On the simulation, Beckham helps QPR stay in the Premier League with some superb performances, for an average rating of 7.38. Redknapp changes his formation in the second season to a diamond 4-4-2 which means that Beckham very rarely makes an appearance. By the end of the simulation, Beckham is unhappy with life at QPR and wants to leave the club.
Beckham at A.C. Milan
Beckham impressed during his two loan stints at Milan and so a return to the San Siro would not be out of the question. Milan have sold a lot of their key players over the past 12 months and the arrival of a big name like Beckham might relieve some of the pressure on their head coach Massimiliano Allegri. Although Allegri signs Beckham in January, the midfielder is not a big part of his plans. He makes only 6 appearances before dropping down to the reserves at the end of the season. He stays in the reserves for 6 months of the 2013/14 season before announcing his retirement.
Beckham at PSG
Oil-rich PSG have started to assemble a squad that they believe will be able to challenge for the Champions League but the team still does not boast a strong fan base. Beckham could help change this. He would generate global interest in the club but PSG head coach might find it hard to squeeze Beckham into such a talented squad. After a high profile arrival in the French capital, Beckham makes regular first-team appearances until the end of the 2012/13 season. The team win the Ligue 1 title with impressive performances from Beckham against Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille. His second season is less enjoyable as he loses his right midfield position to Jeremy Menez and Ezequiel Lavezzi, who are both currently at the club. Beckham made just 5 appearances in his second season as he faded into the background at PSG.
Beckham at Shanghai Shenhua
Chinese soccer has improved greatly over the past few years with more private investment being pumped into the game. Shanghai Shenhua already boast ex-Premier League stars Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka in their team and the signing of Beckham would have a hugely positive impact on every aspect of Chinese soccer. On the simulation, Beckham’s arrival brought higher attendances and higher jersey sales to the Chinese Super League. Shenhua have a disappointing season and finish down in 9th place with only Beckham and ex-Chelsea player Didier Drogba performing above average. Beckham provides an incredible 17 assists in his debut season which earns him 11 Player of the Match awards. By the end of the simulation Beckham is still playing regular first-team football, something that he hasn’t done at any of the other clubs, although his season is cut short through injury.
Beckham at Manchester United
Another option for Beckham is a return to the club where he made his name. Sir Alex Ferguson already has veterans like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in his team so Beckham would not look out of place. Beckham makes a handful of appearances at Old Trafford but he spends most of the season as a backup to Nani. In the games that he does play, he does reasonably well as he scores an average rating of 6.83. Manchester United finish second in the Premier League, behind their fierce rivals Manchester City for the second season running. Beckham plays in the crucial Manchester derby on 6th April but is largely disappointing as City run out 3-1 winners. In the 2013/14 season, Beckham is firmly left out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans and in February, having not played a game all season, he announces his retirement from soccer.
Beckham at Real Madrid
A more unlikely scenario would see Beckham return to Madrid. Madrid’s President Florentino Perez is obsessed with bringing the most famous players to the club and he would love the chance to bring world superstar Beckham back to the team while Head Coach Jose Mourinho has always admired Beckham. The simulation highlighted the main issue that Beckham would face: Madrid’s squad is already strong enough without him. He struggled to earn a place in a midfield that features Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso, amongst others. He does make three appearances for the team but it quickly becomes apparent that Beckham is no longer able to match the standard that is expected at Madrid.