It goes without saying that David Beckham is a global icon and probably the most popular footballer in the world. But the former England captain hasn’t had a smooth career. Just like any other superstar, his life has also been filled with ups and downs.
Today, one of the most marketable sportsmen ever has announced his retirement from the beautiful game, and he will surely be missed by fans worldwide.
Let’s take a look at the top 10 moments from his glorious career so far.
10. Winning FA Youth Cup – 1992
Although winning the Youth Cup isn’t as significant when compared to the other trophies Beckham has won over the years, it was the first of many, in what was a tremendously successful career. Beckham helped United lift the trophy after scoring in the second leg of the fixture (final score 6-3). He went on to make his full debut in the same year against Brighton & Hove Albion.
9. Red card (Argentina v England – World Cup 98)
Argentina’s Diego Simeone fouled Beckham. But that wasn’t all. The Englishman retaliated by kicking the Argentine that resulted in a sending off. Eventually, England lost the game on penalties and many fans still blame Beckham for the World Cup exit.
8. Boot incident
Arsenal defeated Manchester United 2-0 in the FA Cup in 2003 as Beckham limped off the pitch with an injury. Sir Alex Ferguson was so furious with his team’s performance that he kicked a football boot that was lying in the dressing room and it hit David right above his eye. Beckham left for Real Madrid at the end of the season.
7. Becoming the highest-paid footballer – 2007
Beckham became the highest paid footballer in 2007 when he played for MLS side LA Galaxy. The Englishman reportedly earned about $250 million in five years of his contract with the club, which included his salary and sponsorship rights.
6. Half line goal
One of Beckham’s most famous goals came in the match between Wimbledon and Manchester United. Beckham picked up the ball in his own half and saw the opposition keeper off his line. Having been ahead 2-0 in the game, Beckham took a shot from within his own half and it went straight in the back of the net.
5. Penalty v Argentina – 2002
After his incident in the 1998 World Cup, Beckham was walking on thin ice as fans watched him closely in the 2002 World Cup. Argentina were placed in the same group as England were. In the group stage, England were awarded a spot kick against Argentina and Beckham stepped up to take it. All eyes were on him, as a miss could have destroyed his career. But Becks put it into the back of the net and then celebrated passionately. He was awarded an OBE the following year.
4. Winning the treble with Manchester United – 1999
Beckham was part of the squad that won the treble in 1999. Probably the most memorable season in his career, United won the Premier League, FA Cup triumph and the Champions League title in that season after a dramatic finish to the UCL final game against Bayern Munich. After being 1-0 down for most of the game, United came back by scoring two goals in injury time from two Beckham corner kicks.
3. Winning the Spanish title – 2007
Beckham moved to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2003. In 2007, Real Madrid won the La Liga title. This was Beckham’s only league win with Real. He moved to LA Galaxy at the end of the season.
2. Free-kick vs Greece
England were on the verge of failing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup after they fell behind 2-1 against Greece. All the Three Lions needed was a draw to qualify for the tournament. It appeared as if only Beckham was playing in the entire England squad. England finally qualified for the World Cup after Beckham scored from a 93rd minute free-kick.
Beckham’s performance against Greece can be seen in the video below:
1. England’s most capped outfield player
Beckham became England’s most capped outfield player (115). The only player to have more appearances than him is goalkeeper Peter Shilton (125). He said at the time: “Obviously it is a very special occasion for myself, to reach this amount of caps and to be up there just above Bobby Moore.”