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July 21, 2009

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Beckham confronts hostile LA fans

DAVID Beckham was ushered away by security guards after he confronted booing fans on his return to the Los Angeles Galaxy home ground for a friendly against AC Milan on Sunday.

Beckham was playing at home for the first time since he returned to the Galaxy after he controversially extended his loan spell with Milan into the first half of the Major League Soccer season.

Beckham was constantly booed on Sunday by many in the 27,000 sell out crowd, with some holding derisive banners. One said "go home fraud", while another read "Hey Becks, here before you, here after you, here despite you."

Beckham was visibly annoyed at the frequent booing and had to be escorted away by security as the players left the field at halftime when he walked over to an area to confront jeering fans.

"I just wanted to shake one of their hands and tell them to calm down," Beckham told reporters. "Some of the things they're saying are very disrespectful. However they feel about me being here, certain things you don't deserve to have said to you."

Beckham, who had also seemingly fallen out with his teammates with Galaxy captain Landon Donovan reportedly questioning his effort and leadership last season, managed to calm hostility when he helped set up both of the Galaxy's goals in the 2-2 draw.

After Thiago Silva had put Milan in front, Beckham provided a field-length cross to Donovan, who set up Alan Gordon for the equalizer in the 29th minute.

Filippo Inzaghi put the Italians ahead again in the 61st minute only for Bryan Jordan to connect on a Beckham corner in the 65th minute and equalize at 2-2.

After the second goal, Beckham turned in the direction of the stadium that had been the most vitriolic and simply shrugged his shoulders.

"There's not another player on this team or in this league who can make those kinds of plays," Donovan said of the former England captain who was substituted after 75 minutes. "That's going to be crucial for us."

Beckham said last week he hoped to spend a similar six-month loan spell in Europe next year in order to satisfy England coach Fabio Capello that he is ready for the World Cup.

AC Milan's new coach Leonardo suggested he was open to such a move.

"His charisma is very important for other players," he said. "David has had and still has a good relationship with all of us. He was very useful when he wore our shirt. He is without doubt a very intelligent player and there is nothing strange in saying that he could re-enter my plans because he can play in any system."


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