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WASHINGTON - The Beckham-mania that surrounded the Major League Soccer season in 2007 is noticeably absent this year and MLS Commissioner Don Garber said on Tuesday the league would not hype its biggest name.
David Beckham's arrival last year as the newest member of the Los Angeles Galaxy was hailed with the fanfare of a conquering hero.
"The splash happened on its own," Garber told Reuters in an interview, referring to the media frenzy. "It was a phenomenon. It said a lot about the sport, that David decided to play here.
"It became a story bigger than we ever expected. And it now it's, well, (just) a story."
The new MLS season opens this week without the hysteria the 32-year-old English midfielder created a year ago.
Garber said the league did not create the Beckham fever last year and it would take the same approach this season.
He said he was not concerned how the media handled the former Manchester United and Real Madrid player but admitted liking the coverage of Beckham during a recent CBS television programme.
"60 Minutes is a pretty good way to kick off our season.
"Twenty million people saw that telecast, saw the Galaxy," Garber said. "I'm not sure what happens going forward but I don't really care."
Before Beckham joins the Galaxy this season, he will win his 100th cap when he played for England in a friendly against France in Paris yesterday. Beckham's first MLS season was limited to five league games because of injury. - Reuters