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Lalas as the Anti-Beckham
The Guardian, June 19th, 2007 4:15PM

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David Beckham and L.A. Galaxy President Alexi Lalas make quite a pair: on the one hand you have a PR-friendly global superstar who just might be the king of understatement, and on the other, you have a loose-lipped, loudmouth of a soccer executive (in a convivial sort of way) who oozes exaggeration with every word. One thing's for sure, both men know how to make a headline.

Here are the very words for which Lalas may forever be remembered among the British people: "There's this delusion that [the Premiership is] great." The same accusation might be lodged in the direction of Lalas' view of MLS as "one of the most competitive leagues in the world." If by "competitive," he means "best," then he's dead wrong. Our view: MLS may be better than "mid-table Coca Cola Championship" (as it's been described), but it's certainly not one of the top five or six or seven leagues in the world -- yet.

Not that we think Lalas really believes that either. Rather, he's being every bit as clever as Beckham in playing the press -- but very much in his own way. Lalas is using Beckham as a platform for challenging the world to come watch MLS, and it's a clever move, too, because the quality is better than most think. And the world will certainly be watching once the newly crowned Spanish league champion arrives. &

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