LA Galaxy Going After Christiano Ronaldo
AEG and LA Galaxy President Tim Leiweke had some interesting things to say on Monday's edition of the LA Galaxy All-Access Podcast regarding the loss of David Beckham and how it effects the LA Galaxy roster.
"If we lose one or two DPs, that gives us money to go get one or two more DPs. And, yes, we're being approached by many players around the world - famous players that now want to come here. We had to chase David [Beckham]. I'm being chased now. That's never happened but it's a great feeling that this brand and this team and this fan base are so respected that the best players in the world are calling us saying, 'I'd love to come play for you.'"
For those unfamiliar with the league, a Designated Player is a roster slot that does not count against the salary cap. The team is free to sign a player for whatever they want. Each club in the league is given three DP slots and the Galaxy currently have filled theirs with Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane.
LA wants to be a global brand and to do that, they will be looking to sign another global name to take Beckham's place. Here is what Tim Leiweke had to say:
"We have tried at various times to find a Latino-Hispanic player that ultimately can appeal to what is a huge portion of our population base here [in LA]. I believe that we can get it right the next time because now, as they say, it's OK to jump in the water and swim. A lot of very good players know it's OK to come here now. They know that our league is great, the level of competition is great... I don't fear having a situation where we got to go out and replace David Beckham. But I think what our fans will hopefully respect is we're going to take our time. Can we find a good name player tomorrow to replace David? Yes. I don't want to find a good name player. I want to find the greatest player we could find. And that may take a month, or a year, or two years. But we have someone in mind and we're going to be dogged in our pursuit of this player... I do not think that David Beckham will be the best signing we ever made. I personally believe that our best days are ahead of us and I believe that means thinking outside the box and once again finding a player in his prime that is one of the most respected, recognizable athletes that will have a unique appeal, in particular to the Hispanic marketplace in Southern California. That's the guy I'd like to go get. And until we know we can either get him or not get him, we're not going to get a knee-jerk or do anything stupid that eliminates the DP position. Because if Landon [Donovan] does come back and Robbie Keane's not going anywhere then we lose our DP status if we go out and bring in a guy just to be a band-aid. It's amazing that I'm sitting here talking about some of the people I won't mention that are band-aids because three years ago we would have fallen all over ourselves. But I think there is a special player or two that are interested in coming to this league and I want to go get them. And in order to do that, we need to save our slot and we need to save our money for the right guy."
It could be assumed that one of the "band-aid" guys Leiweke is referring to is Frank Lampard of Chelsea. Lampard has been heavily linked to the Galaxy for a couple years now. But if they are talking about a Hispanic, globally recognized player in his prime, then that eliminates him.
When asked to hint who it is he is talking about, Leiweke added this:
"If you look at the headlines and you look at what has been said the last few months, I think we all know who I'm talking about but he's under contract to a team in Europe and as long as he's under contract to that team, we're not going to tamper. With that said, I believe that people ought to understand when one of the better players in the world says 'I'd like to play in Major League Soccer,' he means it and that was not lost on us. And it's a player we've been talking to for years, so this is not a new adventure. By the way, the guy that introduced us to this player is David Beckham. So, David's done the yeoman's work on our behalf at introducing us, getting him comfortable, getting his family comfortable, talking about LA and the organization and David's going to continue being a part of this organization going forward because there's no one better to go out and get some of the best players in the world to come here than David."
Kaka, it could be argued, is no longer in his prime and is no longer one of the very top players in the world. He has also been more heavily linked to New York if he does come to MLS. So, if Leiweke's definition of prime and top player are the same, then he could very well be talking about Christiano Ronaldo.
Also, he gives the time period a couple years, so it wouldn't have to happen right away. This makes sense, as Ronaldo probably wouldn't leave Europe for a few more years.
Could he be plying his trade in MLS around World Cup 2014?
Source: LA Galaxy All Access Podcast