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January 12, 2007

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Igor Belanov

It's very sad that as someone's ability to play at the top level disappears, their income doubles. In terms of skill and talent it makes no sense at all, and is little more than paying for a symbol. Maybe this is the logical end result of football making itself increasingly open to money and the mass media, but it has very little to do with sport.

chris

It's sad, but I suspect it's common. How many academics do good research as badly paid junior lecturers, and do squat when they become better paid professors? How many young journalists break good stories, and then become lazy but well-paid columnists?

dearieme

Nice point well made, but doesn't your argument turn on the mere assertion that Beckham is no better than Freddie?

dsquared

Hmmm, Beckham also has proven leadership ability and he's in the position where he doesn't have anything to prove any more (you would not get any of the other people on your list to go to the Galaxy as none of them have quite yet given up on playing football at the top level).

Katherine

Like dearieme said, it is rather a matter of opinion that David Beckham is equivalent in looks and footballing talent to Freddie. Footballing ability may be a mostly objective thing to measure, but looks are an extremely objective thing. I think Beckham is a buffoon with middling to good footballing talent (in my entirely inexpert opinion), but purely aesthetically speaking, he is beautiful.

james higham

Think Chris is right here, Dearieme. Doesn't matter much if he's 10% or 30% better. He was just the one focussed on because he was also a pretty boy. And Chris, it's "have striven for this".

Maynard Handley

I'm interested in the question of whether this makes sense economically. Speaking as someone in the US who, admittedly, does not follow sport, I see precious little evidence that Beckham and Posh Spice have much mindshare among average Americans.
As such,
"
Maybe the Galaxy are right to believe that his salary will pay for itself, as Beckham's celebrity attracts Americans to "soccer".
"
strikes me as the worst sort of wishful thinking (or perhaps groupthink from a bunch of people who live and breath soccer and imagine the rest of the world is like them).

The whole thing strikes as not much different from paying Switzerlan's top flugelhornist $50 million to come to America on the theory that a celebrity in Switzerland has to be a celebrity in the US.
I would imagine the way this plays out is a week of interviews on the talk shows, jokes on SNL, and pictures on the National Enquirer, followed by pretty much no interest in either soccer or Thick and Thin. There are plenty of other celebrities in the US, most of the female ones (IMHO) better looking than Victoria, while the guys I've not much opinion on, but I'd imagine they at least equal David, and these other celebrities speak in comprehensible American accents and perform comprehensible American passtimes.

Am I wrong? Has this sort of gambit ever worked in the past?

Steve Sailer

The NY Cosmos brought Pele and Beckenbauer to America in the 1970s. They got a lot of publicity for 2-3 years, but then everybody lost interest in soccer as a spectator sport again. (Soccer as a sport for children to play, however, has continued to grow steadily.)

Americans have the best relationship with soccer: we'll play it, but we won't watch it.

Messi

Beckham is really good-looking, a model in grace, but despite that - he is no longer the the talented player he was at first.
In fact in recent years, apparently, only the money, allegedly, drove him ahead, like other many soccer players.
But after all, I still would love to see a free kick by David Beckham that is entering perfectly to the corner of the goal :)

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