MADRID (Reuters) - David Beckham has no regrets about leaving Real Madrid and is relishing the challenge of trying to raise the profile of soccer in the United States when he continues his career with MLS side LA Galaxy.
“I’ve had 15 years playing top flight football for Real Madrid and Manchester United, but I’m moving on to a new challenge,” Beckham told a news conference ahead of his final game for the nine-times European champions on Sunday.
“It will be rewarding as hopefully I can take football, or ‘soccer’ as they call it in America, to another level. I’m excited about that and I’m ready for the challenge.”
Beckham said he opted to move to the U.S. only after Real failed to make him a convincing contract renewal offer but insisted he was not having second thoughts about playing in a lower standard league.
“Everyone knows the level of football is different in America,” he said. “But my decision was to sign for the LA Galaxy and I’m very honoured that they signed me.
“Hindsight is a strange thing .... But I had to make a decision when I was told I was leaving the club at the end of the season.
“I said before that I would finish my career at Real Madrid, but I also thought I’d never leave Manchester United. So things change in football, things change in life. I’ve made a decision now and I don’t regret it.”
The 32-year-old, who was recently recalled to the England squad, said he did not believe he had left top-class club football too early in his career.
“Everybody has their own opinions not just about my decision in the last six months but about my whole career,” he said.
“Some people... say I’m going into semi-retirement and some think I can play for another two or three years at the top level and I’m one of them. I don’t think it is too early to do what I’m doing.
“I don’t want to go there when people expect a lot and then not deliver.... I have changed opinions in my career by the way I’ve played on the pitch and that’s the only thing that interests me — how I perform on a football pitch.”
Beckham added that he wanted to leave Real on a high by winning the league title in his final appearance against Real Mallorca on Sunday at the Bernabeu.
“I haven’t won anything in the four years here, but hopefully that will change this Sunday,” he said. “It will be a very emotional day for me and I’ll be very sad to leave.