Originally Posted by PED
I think the difference is that Beckham left and has won Championships (not that the MLS is really a championship
but La Liga is) everywhere that he's gone. The rest all flourished at Manchester but never plied their trade elsewhere (later on). How good would Giggs have been in Italy when Inter was looking at him in 2002? Would the Inter manager have used the patient approach that Fergie has to maximize his later years?
He's certainly accomplished much more than say Steven Gerrard ever did at Liverpool.
You just never know when you move abroad to play: Michael Owen anyone? that ultimately is the risk for Bale I think.
I also realize that I'm viewing him from an American perspective.
Most Brits seem to hate him and I can understand that but to me, he's a typical American sports star in his approach to life so he doesn't seem different.
I think you're right there, his popularity probably has more to do with what he does off the pitch. His famous wife, his sponsorship deals etc.. He's more of a celebrity these days, PSG only really got him to sell shirts, which he said he was ok with. I can't really imagine many serious players being comfortable with that. Can you imagine a Scholes, Giggs, Lampard, anyone really, going somewhere to sell shirts?
As for the dangers of going abroad, you mentioned Bale. I'm torn on that one, i'd hate to see him leave the Premier League as he brings so much to our league. Can you imagine seeing him in La Liga though? Tearing it up like Messi or Ronaldo. To see one of our own going to Spain and dominating would be pretty special
He can't really lose in going, if it doesn't work out he will have plenty of teams wanting to bring him back. It didn't work out for Lineker and Hughes making the move, but they came back to England and had great careers with Spurs, Man Utd and Chelsea.
I think if it's something he wants to do, he should do it now whilst he's at his peak. It's a big opportunity, he might as well give himself the best chance of making it work and giving it a good go.