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Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009

Beckham vows to return, buy club

SEATTLE (AP) David Beckham did all he could to win a championship in a third country but it wasn't quite enough.

The England veteran took three painkilling injections to dull the pain in his bruised right foot before Sunday night's MLS Cup title match for Los Angeles. He set up his team's only goal. He played all 120 minutes, including 30 minutes of overtime. Then he banged in the first of the Galaxy's four penalties in a shootout.

But after Real Salt Lake won on penalties over his star-studded Galaxy team, Beckham reiterated that he will return for the fourth season of his five-year MLS contract.

"Of course," the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder said of returning in 2010. "I've said I'll be back, and I will."

It will be his fourth season of a $32.5 million, five-year contract with the U.S. league.

Beckham says he will eventually exercise his option to buy an MLS club. His options begin with the 20th team in the league, which won't come until at least 2012.

For now, he'll take four weeks off to rest his foot, then plans to report on Dec. 28 to begin training for his second consecutive season on loan to AC Milan.

Before returning to MLS, the 34-year-old hopes to make England's team for the World Cup in South Africa.

His Sunday was like his team's: a flashy, productive start that fizzled into a slog through the overtime.

"(The injections) wore off after about 50 minutes," he said.

It showed. His passes often fell short in the second half. In the 58th minute, he was flat-footed and seemed surprised by a shot taken a few meters in front of him by Salt Lake's Robbie Findley.

But Beckham remained the team leader through to the end. From the center of the field, he waved his teammates and coaches back from heading into the tunnel and locker room. They then joined him to watch Real hoist its first MLS Cup.

"You guys see what happens when the lights come on. But what we see every day in the locker room, on the road, when we travel, has been tremendous," Landon Donovan said of the teammate whom he had accused of lacking leadership and effort in a book released earlier this year.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber clarified at halftime Sunday that Beckham's option starts with the MLS' 20th team, which won't arrive until 2012 at the earliest. Beckham's option stipulates he must be finished playing before he owns a team.

"We've got options of which team (to buy)," he said, declining to name them or potential cities. "It will happen eventually, yeah."

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