LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - While David Beckham has set his sights on winning a second successive Major League Soccer (MLS) championship with the LA Galaxy this year, he also has big ambitions at the London Olympics.
The former England captain has never previously played in global sport’s showpiece and he is especially motivated to book a spot on Britain’s team with the 2012 Games being staged in his home town of London.
”It’s huge for me,“ Beckham, 36, told Reuters. ”To have the Olympics in the East End of London, a part of London where I grew up, is very special. So I would love to be a part of that, and hopefully I will be.
”I have never played in an Olympics personally, and I know how exciting it is for our country and our nation to have the Olympics in London.
“It’s great that we have Tim and Bruce on board with the fact that I will be gone for that time,” he added, referring to Tim Leiweke, president of Galaxy owners AEG, and Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena.
Beckham, whose return to the Galaxy on a fresh two-year contract was announced earlier this week, confessed he also had a burning desire to captain Britain’s soccer team at the Olympics.
“I’ve had conversations with (coach) Stuart Pearce, but that’s not been decided yet,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder said.
”As long as I‘m fit, as long as I‘m healthy and as long as I‘m in form, then hopefully I’ll have a chance of making the team. I would love to be captain.
“I’ve been captain of my country a few times before and to lead them into an Olympics would be special for any player.”
Beckham, whose initial five-year deal with the Galaxy ended on December 31, said retirement had not been on his agenda as he pondered his playing future before deciding to return to Los Angeles.
”It had been talked about by other people, but it always is when you get to this stage in your career,“ he added. ”Retirement -- I haven’t even started thinking about that yet.
“I‘m 36 now, 37 in May. I still feel good. I still love the game as much as I did when I was 20 years old. I want to continue to play as much as possible.”
The prospect of winning a second consecutive MLS Cup was also a driving force for Beckham, who has previously won league titles in England and Spain.
”The reason I came to LA is to play soccer, the reason I came to play for the Galaxy was to win a trophy,“ he told reporters. ”I hadn’t done that for four-and-a-bit years and then last season we did it.
”I’ve never come back after a season with the Galaxy and been a champion. I wanted to have that feeling. I wanted to come back to this team and to that locker room being a champion.
“And we are, but we are not finished. I am not just happy with one championship. I want more.”
Editing by Julian Linden