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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 09:55 GMT 10:55 UK
Beckham's US test

By Nigel Adderley
BBC Sport in LA

The sight of David Beckham on the front cover of Sports Illustrated is the clearest indication yet that this most insular of sporting nations is taking an interest in his arrival.

David Beckham on the front cover of Sports Illustrated
Beckham has already made something of an impact in America

After all, this is a place usually reserved for American icons such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.

However, the streets of Los Angeles have not been swamped by Beckham-mania just yet.

His official presentation on Friday evening will be a typical Hollywood event, with several hundred media crammed into a corner of the Home Depot Center to watch the ultimate combination of sport and showbusiness.

But, in such a sprawling city where the Lakers and the Dodgers dominate the media attention, Beckham may have his work cut out to keep up a consistently high profile.

Many of the cabbies I spoke to waiting on Sunset Strip were more familiar with Posh Spice's body of work than that of her husband.

Beckham may find LA a refreshing change once the hype and novelty wears off

But for the majority of American journalists attending Chelsea's pre-season workouts and news conferences here in Hollywood, Beckham is the main thing on their agenda.

Although the line of questioning from an "entertainment correspondent" to Chelsea's Arjen Robben on how he thought Beckham would settle to life in Beverly Hills suggested that analysis of his performances on the pitch may not be as rigorous as he was used to in Europe.

Comparisons have been made with Pele's arrival at the New York Cosmos in the mid-1970s, but Giorgio Chinaglia, the former Italian international who played alongside the Brazilian legend, thinks they are wide of the mark.

David and Victoria Beckham
The Beckhams also appeared on the front of W magazine this week
"The hype has been great for American soccer, but I am concerned about what people will say when they see Beckham play," Chinaglia told BBC Sport.

"He is different to Pele and Maradona and in America they like players who dribble and score goals. David's a great player, but he doesn't do that so it might not be easy for him.

"On top of that, the team is not very good at the moment, they are struggling. I don't think Beckham alone can promote Major League Soccer - he needs other big European names to follow him to produce sustained success.

"In a market like this, we need around 50 players of his calibre."

But, for a personality used to living life in a goldfish bowl, Beckham may find LA a refreshing change once the hype and novelty wears off.

According to one of basketball's biggest stars, Los Angeles-born Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics, this is the ideal city to enjoy a quiet life.

"He'll understand that LA is a place where stars are everywhere," said Pierce. "People get used to seeing them, so it's not a big deal compared to what happens in places like Boston and New York.

"People love entertainment and Beckham is an entertainer, so he should fit in fine."

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First among equals
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Pele tells Beckham to expect test
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Beckham reveals LA Galaxy fears
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Beckham hype gives Galaxy trouble
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Galaxy set date to unveil Beckham
29 Jun 07 |  Football
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19 Jun 07 |  Europe
Beckham assured of England future
15 Jun 07 |  Football
Beckham warned over flight risks
08 Jun 07 |  Football
Long-haul Beckham
07 Jun 07 |  Football
Beckham agrees to LA Galaxy move
12 Jan 07 |  Football


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