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Beckham ready to turn other cheek to abusive crowd
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09:36, August 03, 2009

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LOS ANGELES: David Beckham says after two clashes with abusive soccer fans just days apart, he's ready to turn the other cheek and walk away if it happens again.

"He insulted my wife," Beckham said of a spectator at recent MLS game in Kansas City. "If you insult my family members I am going to stick up for my wife and family.

"But if it happens again I wouldn't even look at him. It is not worth the time and energy."

Beckham was speaking following the Galaxy's 2-1 international friendly loss to FC Barcelona in front of a crowd of 93,137 at the Rose Bowl stadium. It was the largest crowd to watch a football match in America in 15 years since the United States hosted the World Cup.

The booing of Beckham by Los Angeles Galaxy fans continued at Saturday's match as large sections of the sell-out crowd jeered him from the opening introduction.

They continued in the second half despite his strong play and Beckham having scored the lone goal for the Galaxy against the Spanish powerhouse Barcelona.

Beckham has incurred the wrath of Galaxy fans who feel he is overpaid and don't like his sidetrips to Europe to play for other teams.

Beckham downplayed the booing on Saturday, saying just a small percentage of the fans at the Rose Bowl were making most of the noise.

Still it was enough to cause MLS commissioner Don Garber to feel the need to speak out in his defence.

"It has got to be an emotional time for David," said Garber, who fined Beckham $1,000 for the first incident with fans. "The opposite of love is not hate. It is indifference.

"I don't support the way they (Galaxy fans) have treated him. We need to start to put all this behind us."

Beckham said: "Quite a few are still reacting the way they react. But out of 93,000 people you have 95 or 97 percent who are incredible. Then you have the odd minority, but that is life."

Forward Jeffren Suarez scored the winner in the 67th minute for Barcelona which dominated throughout the game but had trouble converting their chances.

Midfielder Pedro Rodriguez scored in the 11th minute, picking up a Lionel Messi rebound to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead.

Messi did the lion's share of the work on the play, breaking loose in close and getting two shots on net before Rodriguez tucked in the rebound with Galaxy netminder Donovan Ricketts out of position.

Beckham's goal on a free kick just before half time pulled the Galaxy even at 1-1.

"I hit the sweet spot. When you know it is going in, it's a good feeling," Beckham said.

The boos continued in the second half but by then the pro-Beckham side at the Rose Bowl had started to make their voices heard. Beckham came out of the game in 87th minute to mixture of boos and cheers.

Despite the run ins with American fans and the difficulty of travelling back and forth between continents, Beckham said on Saturday he would return to the Galaxy for another season.

"I am contracted to the Galaxy and the MLS and I will be here next year," he said.

This is not the first time Beckham had drawn the wrath of football fans. After England's 1998 World Cup elimination game, he was blasted after receiving a red card in the second round loss to Argentina.

"Back in 1998 it was 100 times worse and it affected me 100 times worse. This is nothing," Beckham said.

Source: China Daily/Agency

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