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Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 20:08 GMT
Galaxy owners defend Beckham move
David Beckham was interviewed for the American public via a live satellite link
Beckham was welcomed to LA via a satellite link from Spain
The owners of LA Galaxy have denied that money or celebrity lifestyle are the reasons behind David Beckham's decision to move to the US.

Beckham's five-year deal with the Major Soccer League club is worth 128m.

"He is coming here to be a soccer player," said Tim Leiweke, president of sports and entertainment giant AEG, which owns the Californian team.

"He's not here to make him and (wife) Victoria king and queen of the entertainment industry in LA."

Anschutz Entertainment Group is a partner in Beckham's soccer academy in Los Angeles - and Leiweke added: "He's certainly going to bring an audience and a fan base - and an intensity to our sport we've never had.

The main thing for me is to improve the soccer and to be part of history

David Beckham
"But his first priority is to make this a better team and to make the players better players.

"It has been done because he is a very good player - the same age as other professional athletes having an impact in their sports."

Leiweke was speaking at a news conference in Los Angeles on Friday - during which Beckham was interviewed via satellite from Spain.

And Beckham revealed that he had spoken to actor Tom Cruise about his decision to move to the US.

"I was on the phone to him (Cruise) for about an hour last night (Thursday) and an hour the night before," said Beckham.

"Obviously I asked him for his advice because he is a very wise man and a very good friend of mine. It's going to be a big help for us to have friends when we arrive in LA."

Beckham insists that money is not the reason behind his decision - and that he is moving to LA Galaxy to be "part of history".

The 31-year-old, who will leave Real Madrid at the end of the season, told ABC News' Good Morning America on Friday morning: "Of course it's a huge amount of money... an amazing amount.

His position at Madrid has probably accelerated the move - every top player wants to play

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson

"I'm going for the life, for my kids and my wife to enjoy it, but the main thing for me is to improve the soccer and to be part of history."

The former England captain reiterated that his move was not financially driven, although he admitted some people were amused by his new salary.

"I said yesterday and some people laughed at me, but this move for me is not about the money," he continued.

"I think soccer can be a lot bigger in the US. From a young age kids are brought up with soccer, then they seem to go into other areas.

"Hopefully that's what I'll be there for, to pass my experience on to them."

Beckham is reported to have turned down offers in England in order to play in the US, a decision which did not surprise his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I anticipated that. It was to be expected he would go to America," said the United boss.

David Beckham with his Real Madrid team-mates
Beckham said he had been teased about his pay packet
"Having played for us and deep down being a United fan he would not have come back to another English club.

"We wish him well. He was a terrific player for United. It is a big career change, playing for Real Madrid and going to America."

Unless Real win a trophy this season, Beckham will leave the club after a four-year spell without adding to his major honours.

Real president Ramon Calderon described Beckham as a "gentleman" and said he understood the midfielder's decision not to sign a new contract after falling out of favour with manager Fabio Capello.

"We have to thank Beckham for being a gentleman in the four years he has been at Real Madrid," Calderon told the Real Madrid website.

"Beckham's agent told us that they had a very interesting offer and in the end, it has been the best situation for both parties and we must celebrate it."

Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas described his team-mate as a "magnificent person".

"It's a pity," said Casillas. "Those of us who have known him believe him to be a great player and a great professional. He has given everything to Real Madrid."

Money is not my motive - Beckham
11 Jan 07 |  Football
The 275 million dollar man
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Beckham agrees to LA Galaxy move
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Beckham's rollercoaster ride
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MLS paves way for big-name buys
11 Nov 06 |  Football
LA Galaxy admit Beckham interest
06 Nov 06 |  Football


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