David Beckham is one of England’s finest ever players
Winning back the fans
Beckham was given the England captaincy after the retirement of Alan Shearer and he won back the support of England’s supporters during the World Cup Qualifying campaign in 2001.
Firstly,he played a key role in England’s 5-1 demolition of Germany having a hand in four of the five goals.
But it was Beckham’s performance in the final group game against Greece that really got the fans singing his name once more. England went into the game knowing either a draw or a win would ensure they would qualify for the World Cup Finals.
It was anticipated that this would be an easy task but it proved to be far more difficult. Greece were a tough opposition and led 2-1 with time running out.
Beckham had played an inspired game and kept forcing his team forward in search of the equaliser. In the dying moments of the game England were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.
Beckham stepped up and curled a precise shot into the top corner to level the game and take England to the World Cup Finals. From that moment on Beckham was the darling of English football again and led the team for a further five years until he stepped down as captain after the 2006 World Cup.
Joining the Galacticos
In the summer of 2003 Beckham surprisingly left Man Utd to join Real Madrid.
It followed speculation that Sir Alex Ferguson had grown tired of his off-field celebrity which culminated in the Scot reportedly kicking a boot into Beckham’s face in frustration after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.
The incident was never proven and Beckham only ever spoke with respect and admiration about Ferguson after he left the club so he clearly held no grudge.
Beckham joined Real’s team of Galacticos that included Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul, Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos. The team struggled to win any silverware as by now the team’s stars had their best days behind them and were no longer athletic enough to compete at the highest level.
Beckham stayed in Madrid for four years and won La Liga title in his final season at the club.
Move to America
In a move that surprised many football fans, Beckham left Madrid in 2007 to join MLS side LA Galaxy. Some considered it a premature move to a lesser league when many of Europe’s big clubs would’ve been happy to have Beckham in their team.
However, that was Beckham’s decision and he played in the American League whilst trying to maintain his international career by travelling back to England for matches when selected.
Beckham spent the MLS close season on loan at AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 in an attempt to prove to England manager Fabio Capello he was still fit for competitive international football.
In 2011, Beckham won a title in his third different country when he helped LA Galaxy to the MLS Cup with a hand in the winner scored by Landon Donavon.
Olympic dream shattered
David Beckham was awarded an OBE in 2003 thanks to his contribution to British sport. In the later years of his career, Beckham became more aware of his celebrity, and the influence he can have in political issues.
He played an active role in England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup but was unsuccessful with FIFA giving the hosting of the tournament to Russia.
He also played a key role in London’s successful bid to host the Olympics in 2012 and had made it clear he hoped to be selected as one of the ‘vets’ in the squad for the Great Britain football team.
Unfortunately for Beckham, team GB coach Stuart Pearce didn’t select him to play causing uproar amongst Beckham’s adoring fans. Beckham though took the news with good grace and despite his disappointment said he would cheer on the team along with the rest of the nation.