Beckhams’ charm wins over fans; LA Galaxy conquer Filipinos | Inquirer Sports

Beckhams’ charm wins over fans; LA Galaxy conquer Filipinos

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 10:49 AM December 05, 2011

David Beckham: We'd love to come back. Photo by Mark Giongco

MANILA, Philippines—Filipino football fans may have gotten the thrill of seeing live how it’s like to “Bend it like Beckham,” but there’s more to the international sporting icon’s talent that awed the Filipinos.

David Beckham—who flashed his trademark curling shot in the opening goal of the Los Angeles Galaxay’s 6-1 rout of the Philippine Azkals on Saturday— certainly had more than his talent to charm the country.


Showing no signs of the trappings of a celebrity, Beckham felt it wasn’t right for him to give the Azkals some advice after the drubbing in the exhibition match last Saturday, which capped the Galaxy’s three-day Manila tour at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.


“I don’t think I need to tell them anything because it was a difficult game for us tonight,” said the 36-year-old Beckham, who at one time, was the world’s highest-paid football player.

“The score doesn’t tell how close the game was at times. They don’t need me giving them advice. I can see that they’ve got talent in their team.”

In a bit of a mix-up, Beckham didn’t even mind waiting, and eventually just shared the table with the Azkals in a postgame press conference.

The international icon also admitted to getting star-struck with boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who arrived in the game early in the second half with his wife Jinkee and their children.

“I couldn’t wait to get off the field to talk to him,” said Beckham, who was substituted in the 75th minute and took the opportunity to approach Pacquiao and give him his jersey.

“I’m a huge fan. He’s such a talented man and a good person as well. I know all the players were excited about him being at the game. I saw him walk in during the game and I wanted to meet him and have a picture with him.”


In previous days, Beckham also showed the same kind of humility and congeniality during the team’s football clinic with kids and visits in the orphanages.

“To have fun, that’s the most important thing in the world,” he said. “We coached a few kids, and to see their faces and expressions, it’s a special thing.”

In the final presscon, the former England captain even decided to return to the room minutes after his session just to hand Azkals star Phil Younghusband the signed jersey that he promised.

“David is one of my biggest idols,” said Younghusband, who was also surprised with the gesture. “He’s one of the reasons why I want to play football.”

Both Beckham and LA Galaxy captain Landon Donovan expressed their wish to return to the country.

“Thank you for the hospitality, it was fantastic,” said Donovan. “We really had a good time and hopefully we can come back.”

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena also commended the Azkals and even praised the game of Phil Younghusband, Angel Guirado and Chieffy Caligdong.

“I thought they did quite well in breaking down the counterattack,” Arena said of the trio. “We were a bit sloppy at times.”

Caligdong also relished the rare experience that pitted the Azkals against the newly crowned Major League Soccer champion.

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“They’re very good,” he said.

TAGS: Angel Guirado, Bruce Arena, Chieffy Caligdong, David Beckham, Football, Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Major League Soccer, Manny Pacquiao, MLS, Phil Younghusband, Philippine Azkals, Philippines, Sports

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