In a month that has seen Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Scholes retire, another player from Manchester United’s golden era takes his bow – and we may never see his like again.
Much will be said about the football side of David Beckham, and rightly so, but I want to concentrate more on the man he was.
Known from England all the way to the shores of America and Asia and everywhere in-between, David Beckham is arguably the most recognisable face and most marketable brand in world football, although he has never let it go to his head.
Beckham’s story becomes even more impressive when you consider how he has conducted himself throughout his career. Despite being such a megastar, there have been no reports of him acting like a diva, sleeping with anyone’s wife and he has never come out in the media and said a bad word about anyone. To say that Beckham was a breath of fresh air in the modern footballing era is an understatement.
Even when his dressing room spat involving a boot being kicked at his head by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson came to light, he never went running to the media, he merely went about his business, a class act.
He never once complained publicly about wrongly being made the scapegoat for England’s World Cup France ’98 exit to Argentina, after he was sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone. As a young man just beginning his trade, he took a ridiculous amount of abuse that was aimed at himself – and his family – at opposing grounds, and came back stronger. Many would have taken the easy option and skipped the country until it had all died down, not Beckham. He just got his head down and let his football do the talking.
Then there is the footballing side of which Beckham’s CV is second to none.
A talisman and game changer for both club and country, Becks went on to win 115 caps for England – becoming captain in the process – winning multiple Premier League titles, as well as La Liga, the MLS cup and most recently Ligue 1 – that’s the league title in 4 different countries which is unprecedented. Then there is the small matter of winning the Champions League with Manchester United in ’99 and various other domestic accolades. He can also claim to have played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe: Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris St Germain.
As if that wasn’t enough, Beckham also played a big part in getting the 2012 Olympics to London. It’s just a shame Stuart Pearce didn’t reward him by picking him in the Great Britain football team – a decision that baffled and disgusted many.
It’s a sad day to see such a role model hanging up his boots and his humble nature and well documented work ethic on the training ground will be sorely missed. The fact that he donated all of his PSG salary to charity says everything about the nature of the man, and I hope for football’s sake that his future lies somewhere within the great game, we could sure use someone like him for the youngsters of today to look up to.
Written by Mark U.
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