Stage set for Beckham to face Manchester United

David Beckham plans to be an ambassador for England at the 2012 London Olympics, preferably as a player for his nation's football team.

Updated: July 27, 2011 11:37 IST
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New York: David Beckham plans to be an ambassador for England at the 2012 London Olympics, preferably as a player for his nation's football team.

Wayne Rooney isn't exactly known as an ambassador for his sport.

The Manchester United stars of past and present will meet Wednesday in the Major League Soccer All-Star game.

The 36-year-old Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy and an MLS All-Star, hopes to compete for his home country at next year's Olympics in what could be one of the final chapters of his career.

"I don't want to just be an ambassador. I will be an ambassador for the games and for our country, but I want to be involved," he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I want to play."

The 25-year-old Rooney is the one scoring goals — and creating controversy — for Manchester United these days. Among the antics: cursing directly into a camera during a Premier League match in April.

"Sometimes in games the emotions do take over," Rooney said at an event showing off Manchester United's new Nike uniforms. "You do things you regret afterward. That's part of the game."

Manchester United takes on the MLS All-Stars at New Jersey's Red Bull Arena as part of its U.S. tour.

Beckham last talked to Olympic organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe two months ago about his potential role and isn't sure when a decision will be made. He attended the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"It was spectacular. It's very hard to live up to something like that," Beckham said. "But I think what we do as a nation, we bring the excitement that the English have in a very traditional way. When we have a sporting event in our country, everybody celebrates. The streets are full of flags. The streets are full of people having fun and enjoying themselves."

Beckham was hoping to help bring another major sports event to England: the World Cup. But the country was resoundingly rejected by FIFA, the sport's governing body now mired in corruption scandals.

Beckham praised Russia and Qatar as the hosts in 2018 and 2022 but questioned the process.

"What kind of left a sour taste in our mouths was the fact people were turning round to us and saying, 'Don't worry, you have our vote. We're with your country. We love your country,'" he said. "Then for us to just get one or two votes that we got, we're kind of frustrated."

For a player known as an ambassador for football, he doesn't want to see FIFA in the news this way.

"For it to be in the limelight like it is, for FIFA to be involved in this whole kind of scandal, it's not good for the game, of course," Beckham said. "We need to continue to keep the profile of this game up because it's the best sport in the world, the biggest sport in the world."

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