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Beckham to the UAE!

November 20th, 2012 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Football, Galaxy, Maradona, Pro League, soccer, Sports Journalism, The National, UAE

Why not?

Those were the words from Kefah Al Kaabi, a TV and radio soccer pundit here in the UAE.

The question was:

Is it possible David Beckham could be signed by a UAE Pro League team?

It was already Tuesday in the Middle East when Becks announced the Major League Soccer championship game on December 1 would be his final game for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

He also said, however, he did not intend to stop playing. He said he had at least one more stop in him.

So, when he did not identify where he might be going, after his Galaxy farewell on December 1, we took it upon ourselves at The National to find a destination for Becks.

Right here, of course.

I banged out a 300-word comment piece on why he would be a perfect fit here. The gist of it? Beckham and his wife, Victoria, like places with money and sun, and we have lots of both here in the UAE. Both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Clubs here also have a recent history of spending freely when an aging star is available. In recent years, Fabio Cannavaro and David Trezeguet have played briefly, if not well.

And Al Wasl, a club in Dubai, went so far as to hire the erratic Diego Maradona as their coach. (Follow that link, and in the photo near the top of the page, that’s an Al Wasl shirt Diego is wearing.)

That experiment ended after a year, and not well, but Diego is still here, serving as a “honorary ambassador” for the Dubai Sports Council. (Diego, I noted in the column, has described Dubai as “a paradise.”)

I also chased down a couple of good sources here in the country, and did a story on whether spending a lot of money on Becks would make sense for a local club. Asking them if they could imagine Beckham playing here for a season, or even half a season.”Why not?!?” is what Kefah Al Kaabi said. He was fired up about the possibility.

Where Becks goes probably will pivot on further developing “brand Beckham,” which he has been very good about broadening and deepening in his peregrinations, from Manchester United to Real Madrid to the Galaxy, to AC Milan and …

Australia has come up as an option, and China, and Paris St-Germain (whose coach almost immediately said, “No thanks.”), but I think the UAE is the best fit. Really.

It would put him in the Gulf, which is where tons of money is stacking up, and in the Muslim world for the first time (as a full-time player), which would further burnish his “world celebrity” status.

And Dubai has dozens of major malls, as well as a thriving social scene, which should keep wife Victoria (the former Posh Spice) amused.

In the comment, I noted that in 2009, when Victoria was in Dubai while her husband was on loan to AC Milan, which was training there over the winter break … she told The National that she enjoyed not being pursued and hounded here, as she is in many places.

Everyone’s been very respectful,” she said then. “I will come back for that reason.”

Read more:
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

“Everyone’s been very respectful,” she said then. “I will come back for that reason.”

Read more:
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

“Everyone’s been very respectful,” she said then. “I will come back for that reason.”

Read more:
Follow us: @TheNationalUAE on Twitter | on Facebook

“Everyone’s been very respectful,” she said. “I will come back for that reason.”

Victoria … ready, in 2009-10, to come back to the UAE.

I think this makes sense. Beckham playing half a season with Al Ahli or Al Wasl or Al Jazira, the Abu Dhabi club owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, who also owns Manchester City of the Premier League.

We will need to pursue this. Keep the discussion alive. This is a country that loves celebrity, and it collecting them at a rapid pace, and Becks would fit right in here.

As a footballer? Beckham would be huge here. Huge. For a change, stadiums would be packed. I am sure of it.


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