From The Archives: David Beckham

David Beckham is the first Englishman to win a league title in four different countries – England, Spain, France and the US. He won an incredible 19 major trophies across his 20 year career and was twice runner-up for the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Beckham began his career at Old Trafford and graduated along with Giggs, Scholes, the Neville’s, and Butt, forming part of the now-legendary ‘Class of 92’. The 1994-95 season saw him go to Preston North End to garner first team experience. He made just 5 appearances but scored twice including one directly from a corner. He returned to United and made his debut on April 2nd 1995. The next saw him nail down a first-team spot and was one of the ‘kids’ who denied Newcastle the Championship. He was a vital part of the treble winning squad in 1999. However, his relationship with the Sir Alex Ferguson declined and this led to him selling Beckham to Madrid. He became a ‘Galactico’ after signing for a reported £18 million plus add-ons deal.

The strange part of this move was that Beckham was said to be close to a move to Barcelona. The clubs even had an announcement regarding the same but the dynamic Englishman joined Clasico rivals Madrid instead. Beckham started well and scored in the Supercup win against Mallorca. But, it is easy to say that it was not the best of times for Beckham, as he won just 2 trophies during a four-year spell.

In January of 2007, it was confirmed that Beckham was leaving the Bernabeu to join MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy in a deal worth $6.5m a year. His first goal for Galaxy was a trademark free-kick. It was a very successful phase of Beckham’s career as he won a number of trophies including the MLS Cup twice.

Beckham joined PSG for one final swansong in his career in January 2013. He ended the season with the French Championship.

Beckham’s International career is something many players dream of having. 115 caps including 59 as Captain. He scored a decent 17 goals and set up 36 more. His first goal for England was a 30-yard free kick against Colombia. The lowest ebb of Beckham’s career both club-level and International was the criticism he received for being sent off in the round of 16 clash against Argentina. He was taunted for months on end by away fans in the League and booed in Internationals. In the match against Portugal in Euro 2000, Beckham set up 2 goals and responded to the abuse by raising his middle finger. Despite being criticized for doing so, it ended the virtual hell Beckham was experiencing.

Known for his ‘bending’ free kicks, Beckham was known to practice them hours after the end of a training session. Renowned for his long-range passing, crossing ability, and bending free-kicks as a right winger, Ferguson noted that Beckham “practiced with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn’t care about.”

When asked about how he wanted to be remembered after retirement, Beckham said: “I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer, someone that’s passionate about the game, someone that – every time I stepped on the pitch – I’ve given everything that I have, because that’s how I feel. That’s how I look back on it and hope people will see me.”

That is exactly how we look back on the career of one of England’s best ever midfielders.