is staying in Los Angeles for another two years after signing a new contract with the Galaxy yesterday. The 36-year-old former England captain signed the deal with the MLS club after turning down a chance to move back to Europe with Paris Saint-Germain. “This was an important decision for me,’’ Beckham said in a statement. “I had many offers from clubs from around the world, however, I’m still passionate about playing in America and winning trophies with the Galaxy.’’ The midfielder joined the Galaxy in 2007 from Real Madrid with a $32.5 million, five-year contract. But he didn’t lift his first trophy in the US until the Galaxy won the MLS Cup in November. Beckham opted against moving to France or returning to the Premier League because his family is settled in California. “I’ve seen first hand how popular soccer is now in the States and I’m as committed as ever to growing the game here,’’ Beckham said. “My family and I are incredibly happy and settled in America and we look forward to spending many more years here.’’ . . . Sporting Kansas City signed midfielder Michael Thomas
, a former Notre Dame star who’s spent the past two seasons with Ljungskile SK of the Swedish Superettan . . . World and European champion Spain retained the top spot in the FIFA rankings for the fifth straight month, and the United States moved up one place to 33d . . . Carles Puyol
and Eric Abidal
scored rare goals to rally Barcelona past defending champion Real Madrid, 2-1, in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal in Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo
put Madrid ahead in the 11th minute with his 27th goal, but Puyol tied it with a header off a corner kick in the 49th.
Jovanovski has surgery on broken hand
The Panthers could be without Ed Jovanovski
for two months after the veteran defenseman underwent surgery to fix a broken hand suffered during a fight with the Bruins’ Daniel Paille
Monday night. In the first-period, Jovanovski and Paille both removed their helmets an engaged in a short skirmish . . . Rangers coach John Tortorella
was not pleased when owner James Dolan
proclaimed his team fit to win the Stanley Cup after Tuesday night’s win over the Predators. “I think we’re pretty close to getting that back,’’ Dolan said of the Stanley Cup. Surprised by Dolan’s proclamation, Tortorella wanted nothing to do with Cup predictions. “I had my owner up here talking about winning a Stanley Cup,’’ Tortorella said. “We have to take it one game at a time.’’
Winter Classic going to Big House?
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said the school and the NHL are discussing bringing the Winter Classic to Michigan Stadium. According to several media reports, the Red Wings likely would play the Maple Leafs Jan. 1, 2013, at the Big House, which holds 110,000 for a football game . . . The Blues signed All-Star goalie Brian Elliott to a two-year, $3.6 million contract extension. The deal will pay the 26-year-old $1.7 million next season and $1.9 million in 2013-14. He signed a two-way contract this season and is making $600,000. Elliott is 15-5-1 with five shutouts, and a 1.68 goals-against average . . . Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was added to the All-Star team.
Nets send Williams down to minors
Nets general manager Billy King
sent forward Jordan Williams
to Springfield of the NBA D-League. The 36th pick overall in June’s draft, Williams appeared in six games, averaging 1.0 point and 1.5 rebounds in 6.2 minutes per game. The Nets also signed forward Larry Owens
and waived forward Dennis Horner
. . . Former center Zydrunas Ilgauskas
, who became one of the Cavaliers’ most popular players during 12 seasons with the team, was named a special assistant to Cleveland GM Chris Grant
. . . Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
, the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, was appointed a global cultural ambassador by the State Department . . . Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak
dismissed senior point guard Josh
for an undisclosed team rules violation . . . California forward Richard Solomon
was ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the season, a major setback to a team expected to be a Pac-12 contender . . . DePaul women’s coach Doug Bruno
, Atlanta Dream coach Marynell Meadors
, and Washington Mystics assistant coach Jennifer Gillom
were selected to serve as assistant coaches for the US women’s team at the London Olympics. The head coach is Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma
Alabama brings Nussmeier aboard
, who directed Washington’s offense the past three seasons, was hired as offensive coordinator for national champion Alabama, replacing Jim McElwain
, who left to become coach at Colorado State. Nussmeier worked with quarterback Jake Locker
, the No. 8 overall draft pick by the Tennessee Titans last year . . . Four-time US 800-meter track champion Nick Symmonds
put an offer on eBay to wear a temporary tattoo with the name of the highest bidder as he competes for a spot on the US team for the Summer Olympics. Symmonds is a vocal critic of what he says are the “antiquated’’ sponsorship rules of track and field’s international ruling body. He says those rules limit the amount of money athletes can bring in to pursue their careers.