David Beckham: Injury Bad for the World Cup?

Jeanne Sager
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Flickr: Photo by NathanF

Celebrity dad David Beckham's kids are past the ankle biter stage, but the super soccer star had below-the-knee pain of another kind to deal with this week. And it could be bad news for soccer fans across the states.

Despite surgery for an achilles tendon tear on Monday, it looks like Becks will be off the pitch well past the World Cup's June 11 start date.

Beckham's surgeons confirmed to FIFA -- the international federation that runs the championship games -- that the LA Galaxy midfielder will need to stay off those famous feet for at least three months.

Throwing in another month before he's allowed to run, two more before he's allowed to play, and the popular -- albeit controversial -- footballer won't be joining his native England on the pitch anytime soon.

Which could be potentially bad for football. Although he's been booed by British fans many a time for his misakes on the field (a missed penalty kick in 2004 that lost them their match with Portugal, a red card in 1998 game against Argentina), he's still the one and only David Beckham.

The one who gets movies made about his powerful ball bends. The one who gets the (spice) girl (even if she needs to eat a sandwich), and keeps her despite his bad boy antics.

Ask the average American to talk soccer, and chances are good good old Goldenballs' name will come out. The World Cup has been called a "healthy niche event" for sports channels, but viewership has traditionally come largely from outside the states.

Beckham may not be "ours," but there's a reason the MLS brought him stateside -- to drum up a bigger American interest in soccer. With him off the pitch, will World Cup viewing suffer?

 

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