– Toronto FC Transfers, Trades, Signings & Rumors

January 28, 2009, 7:22 PM
Filed under: Rohan Ricketts, Toronto FC

While Major League Soccer can’t be happy with league poster boy David Beckham’s recent comments about extending his stay in Italy, at least one current player sees the upside.

Toronto FC winger Rohan Ricketts, who has played against Beckham both in England and North America, spoke to the TEAM 1040 in Vancouver about Beckham’s potential departure.

“I think a lot of people think it would be a bad thing because (MLS) would be losing not just a big name, but the biggest name in the league,” Ricketts told TEAM 1040.  “But I think they should look at it as a good stepping stone.”

Although Beckham’s loan deal with AC Milan expires on March 8, he recently told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he was interested in extending his stay.

“Playing here is the dream of every footballer,” Beckham said in an interview. “But deciding isn’t easy. It’s a question that takes time.”

Ricketts says an exit from Beckham now would give MLS a chance to promote its current crop of players who are committed to staying in the league.

“In two years he’s done a lot for the league, he’s brought a lot of kudos to the league,” said Ricketts.  “I think now if he leaves the league it should allow the league to get on with things with the players that we do have.”

Ricketts, who just finished his first season in MLS with TFC, has also played in England for Arsenal, Tottenham, Wolverhampton and Barnsley.  He says he does not believe that one player can make the difference, even if the player has as high a profile both on and off the pitch as the former England captain Beckham.

“You’ve got to look at it like this: David Beckham is a talented athlete, but since he’s been in the MLS, the L.A. Galaxy have never won the Championship, not once.  I don’t even know if they’ve made the playoffs.”

Despite Beckham’s presence, the Galaxy struggled mightily this past season, finishing tied for last in the league with the expansion San Jose Earthquakes.  While Beckham enjoyed a fine season for the Galaxy and was among the league leaders in assists, the team missed the playoffs for the second straight year and saw its top two players (Beckham and Landon Donovan) accept loan deals to European giants (AC Milan and Bayern Munich, respectively).

“I’m under contract and I have a lot of respect for the Galaxy. But the chance to play for Milan is something special,” said Beckham. “I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. But in terms of character, I’m a very respectful person.”

“The Americans are doing everything they can to improve the level and reputation of their game,” Beckham said. “It’s a young league and I think it needs another 10 years to become successful.

“I have to admit that, having played in Europe, sometimes it was frustrating playing in certain games. But every now and then, moving from one state to another, I also enjoyed myself.”

While the league may not be happy that their marquee player is looking for a way out, Ricketts sees a silver lining to Beckham’s potential departure.

“They’re going to lose him someday,” Ricketts told the TEAM.  “All good things come to an end.  They are going to lose him eventually, and next year he can go for free.  So if AC Milan are willing to pay some money now, it’s good business-wise to take it now.”

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