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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.j ... nbec27.xml

Beckham to make LA debut against Chelsea

By Simon Charles

Last Updated: 1:19am BST 27/03/2007

David Beckham will make his LA Galaxy debut against Chelsea on July 21, according to sources close to the American club.

Chelsea announced they would be embarking on a fourth consecutive pre-season summer tour to North America earlier this month, where they will compete in the World Series of Football competition.

Aside from Chelsea and the Galaxy, Korean football team Suwon Bluewings - owned by Chelsea's official shirt sponsor Samsung - and Mexican side Tigres are set to take part in the four-team tournament, which is a strategic alliance between the London club and Anschutz Entertainment Group, owners of LA Galaxy.

The highlight of Chelsea's excursions Stateside will be the match against the Galaxy at their Home Depot Center stadium in Carson, California, near Los Angeles.

The Real Madrid midfielder's Galaxy debut could see him pitted against former international team-mates Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, captain John Terry, Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips - a tantalising prospect given the comments alleged last week by Israeli football agent Pini Zahavi.

Zahavi was quoted in his country's biggest newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as saying that the England team were "hurt" by the divisions within the camp caused by Beckham's status, though it is worth noting that Terry refuted these claims.

However, if this contest fails to excite a North American public unwilling to extend their enthusiasm for sport into soccer, then perhaps nothing will.

Jose Morinho, the Chelsea manager, said he was looking forward to the prospect of leading his players out against the Galaxy and Beckham.

"We are happy that we are going back to the US for pre-season and we have done it every year since my arrival," the Portuguese said. "This season will be a bit more special because of our links with the Bluewings and Beckham is there which brings something extra to the tournament and to the game.

"This gives me the chance to wish him big success in the United States. He will be important for US soccer and for the relationship between US and European soccer."

Beckham, who in January signed a five-year deal worth ?128 million with the Galaxy, missed out on a possible England recall for the Israel game after straining his lateral-internal ligament in the 1-1 draw La Liga draw with Getafe earlier this month, but should return to full fitness in the next two weeks.

Madrid's final game of the season is against Mallorca on June 17. After that Beckham is likely to take a short holiday before joining up with the Galaxy for the rest of their season.

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