Beckham says he’ll play out contract in LA

The 35-year-old says he is “80 to 85 percent” fit after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon while on loan in March. He was sidelined for six months and missed the World Cup in South Africa.

LOS ANGELES  _ David Beckham plans to play out the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2011 while continuing to hope he’ll play for England again.

Beckham said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday that he doesn’t know what will happen after his contract expires next year.

“I want to play as long as my legs can take me,” he said. “I know it sounds a cliche, but I love playing football, I love playing the game, it’s my passion. When I stop enjoying it then I’ll know I need to stop.”

Beckham has a five-year contract with Major League Soccer worth $32.5 million. He could buy out the final year and leave next month when the playoffs end.

“I’m definitely going to be here for the rest of my contract,” he said. “My sons go to school here, we’re all happy living here, so I can’t see us moving.”

The former England captain would hurry home, though, if England coach Fabio Capello called on him to play for his country again. Beckham is England’s most experienced active player with 115 international appearances.

“I’d love to continue to play. Whether I do or not, that is obviously down to the manager and obviously down to myself to perform,” he said.

Beckham won’t go on loan to a European team like he did with AC Milan the last two years to keep fit during the MLS offseason, which could dash his hopes of playing for England again.

The Galaxy won’t allow another loan after his Achilles’ tendon injury kept him out of most of this season.

“I would love to say that I’d be able to, but with the injury that I’ve had you have to give it a certain amount of rest,” Beckham said.

Capello has suggested he wants to rejuvenate the England team with younger players and will only consider Beckham for a farewell match in an exhibition. This month, he dismissed the suggestion that Beckham has played himself into contention.

Asked if Capello has fairly considered him, Beckham said, “He’s a fair man. He gives everyone a chance.”

The 35-year-old says he is “80 to 85 percent” fit after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon while on loan in March. He was sidelined for six months and missed the World Cup in South Africa.

“It’s obviously difficult to come back from,” he said. “I’ve been playing just over a month now and the fitness level is almost there.”

The Galaxy open the playoffs next Sunday at Seattle. Beckham scored the equalizer in the team’s 2-1 weekend victory over FC Dallas to help them finish with the league’s best record.

Last year, the Galaxy lost on penalty kicks to Real Salt Lake in the MLS Cup final.

“I wouldn’t say we’re favorites,” he said. “I believe we’ve got the right team, we’ve got the right manager, so everything sets up right. It’s just about us performing on the field.”

The severity of his injury has kept Beckham from thinking too far into the future, especially when it comes to making the rosters for Euro 2012 or the World Cup in 2014.

“At the moment, I’m just taking each game as it comes,” he said.

Beckham will join the Galaxy for its friendly in Newcastle, Australia, next month.

His latest injury is one of many that have knocked Beckham out since he arrived to unbelievable hype four years ago, stating his goal was to raise football’s profile in the United States.

“We wanted to grow the league, which we have,” he said, citing new MLS clubs, new football-specific stadiums and international players who’ve followed him stateside as proof of the growth.

“I always said it wasn’t going to take a year or two. It’s going to take five, 10 years to be able to get up to a level which could compete with the European leagues. So far, so good.”

Beckham spent Monday in a Hollywood studio doing promotional work for EA Sports Active 2, a line of interactive fitness products set to debut Nov. 19 in Europe and Australia. Wearing a heart rate monitor and a motion sensor, he did a boxing and mountain biking workout with his heart rate and calories burned posted on-screen when he was done.

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