CARSON, Calif. –AEG President and CEO Tim Leiweke was instrumental in bringing David Beckham to the LA Galaxy in 2007, but the man that brought Beckham to Los Angeles admits that it was time for both to move on.
Six years after Leiweke helped the Galaxy sign Beckham, the midfielder will play his final game with the club on Dec. 1 in the 2012 MLS Cup Final against the Houston Dynamo at The Home Depot Center. The match will bring a close to his six-year tenure with LA, where Beckham notched 98 regular season appearances, tallying 18 goals and 40 assists.
In an exclusive interview with the LA Galaxy Insider on Tuesday evening, Leiweke discussed his emotions and thoughts of the Beckham’s finale.
“I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I think the world of David; he’s been a great player, a great mentor, an important part of the league, an important part of our organization, and a good friend. That said, I’m proud of him, it’s the right time. We get a chance to end this with an exclamation mark,” Leiweke told LA Galaxy Insider. “I know like me, there have always been critics, speculation and criticism of bringing him here, but it’s hard to argue with the success of this organization and that player over the last four years. I just can’t think of a better way for him to go out on top then taking one last run at another cup. That is a remarkable accomplishment for the team and for the player. “
During Beckham’s interviews with the media on Tuesday, Beckham admitted that Leiweke did try to convince him to stay, but even though he was departing Los Angeles his commitment to the Galaxy and MLS will not change.
Leiweke admitted that he did attempt to sway the midfielder, but it was time for him and for the Galaxy.
“What I care for is David the individual more than David the player. You know, he’s taken some hits this year, I actually was a little worried about him at the end of the game in Seattle. I think he’s making the right decision here,” Leiweke said. “I think he’s given us all he has, I think he’s done exactly what he’s set out to do and I think it’s rare in life that a man can walk away with his head held high and his goals intact and he’s going to do that here.”
“I think he did a phenomenal job and everything that he set out to do,” Leiweke added. “I’m grateful for the way that he handled it, for his professionalism, for the environment that he created with our organization and the locker room and for the kind of teammate that he was especially for the young kids. David’s been a very good influence.”