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Volume 10 No. 22

International Football

David Beckham said Wednesday he has "exciting opportunities on the table" to continue playing after he leaves Major League Soccer club L.A. Galaxy and will announce his next move near the end of the year, according to the AP. Until then, "he is focusing on winning one more trophy" with the Galaxy. Beckham said, "I still feel that I have something left in me as a player. I still feel like I have one more challenge in me as a player. Even at 37 years old, I still can play at a high level. Where that will be yet, I haven't decided." Although "discussing his future in the most oblique terms," he did confirm that he would not move to N.Y. or another MLS team (AP, 11/21). The AFP noted A-League clubs, including Central Coast Mariners, Perth Glory and Melbourne Heart, "have all publicly stated an intention to sign" Beckham on a 10-game guest stint. Beckham said that "he knew several weeks ago that he was going to play his last game with the Galaxy this year but wanted to wait for the right moment to announce it" (AFP, 11/21).

NEW ZEALAND: In Wellington, Sam Worthington wrote Wellington Phoenix GM David Dome "is not exactly rolling out the welcome mat," but he said that he would "at least explore the remote possibility of signing" Beckham if he expresses "an interest in playing Down Under." Dome had "dismissed the prospect when contacted on Friday but was more enthusiastic" on Tuesday. Dome said, "If someone gave us a call and said 'Hey, David Beckahm wants to come to Australia, would you look at it?' -- we'd go 'Yeah, show us the details, and let's have a look at it'" (DOMINION POST, 11/21).

In Abu Dhabi, Paul Oberjuerge wrote "David Beckham and the UAE: isn't that a match made in marketing/brand-building/star-struck heaven?" If Diego Maradona "wowed the UAE, Beckham playing football in the Pro League would knock it out." So "why not the Pro League?" Its clubs have "demonstrated an ability to entice great players late in their careers," such as Fabio Cannavaro, George Weah and Luca Toni. Beckham would be a "superior investment because he would lure thousands of people to stadiums." If Beckham did come to the UAE, "he would enter the booming Asia market and reinforce his considerable brand" (THE NATIONAL, 11/20).

CHINA: The AFP wrote the top clubs in China have "played down any attempts to sign" Beckham as speculations "went into overdrive about a potential move to the fast-growing league." No clubs of the "cash-rich" Chinese Super League have confirmed a move for Beckham. Beijing Guoan spokesperson said, "I have nothing to say right now." Officials at Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Guizhou Renhe said that "they were unaware of any bids to sign Beckham." However, the chance to put Chinese football on the map, as he did for the MLS, "is thought to be an attraction for Beckham." British media also speculated that China, in particular Shanghai, "would be a savvy destination for the fashion business run by Beckham's wife" Victoria (AFP, 11/21).

PARIS: Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain has "ruled out a move" for Beckham. PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said that the French club "had no plans to open the cheque book" for the 37-year-old. Ancelotti was quoted by L'Equipe as saying: "Beckham? We have not made an offer. We're done [recruiting]. Good luck to him for the future." PSG Sports Dir Leonardo agreed: "There is nothing" (REUTERS, 11/21). 

Didier Drogba has asked FIFA "for special permission to move on loan" from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua despite being outside the official transfer window, according to David Kent of the London DAILY MAIL. FIFA said that it is considering Drogba's request for an exemption from int'l rules, and his former club, Chelsea, is "keen for the striker to return to west London, even if it is just for a month." If the request is granted, Drogba "could play for a new team to prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations," which begins on Jan. 19 in South Africa. FIFA "has upheld the rules in previous cases," for example, when David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Landon Donovan had to wait until January to make loan moves to Europe following the Major League Soccer season (DAILY MAIL, 11/21).

La Liga club Athletic Bilbao's Europa League away match at Hapoel Kiryat Shmona in Israel on Thursday has been "postponed for security reasons," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. In a statement UEFA said, "The UEFA emergency panel met today and decided to postpone the match... due to the tense security situation in the region. A decision concerning the rescheduling of the match will be made by the end of the week" (REUTERS, 11/21). In Madrid, Nika Cuenca reported that the decision was made after a bomb exploded on a bus in Tel Aviv. At least 10 people were hurt in the attack (AS, 11/21).