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David Beckham's stellar career has included spells at Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as two loan stints at AC Milan.
Having also earned a remarkable 115 caps for England, the iconic midfielder is now in the twilight of his playing years with some impressive milestones under his belt.
After recently clinching the MLS Cup with the Galaxy, Beckham's next step could see him return to Europe. In the meantime, we count down his top 10 achievements...
This competition may not be on the top of Beckham's honours list, but its significance should not be disregarded. A Manchester United team that included Gary Neville, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs overcame Crystal Palace 6-3 on aggregate with Beckham scoring in the second leg of the final. Those players went on to become the fulcrum of a United side that dominated the 1990s, forming an understanding at an early age that stood them in good stead. Beckham went on to make his full debut in the same year against Brighton.
A move to the American West coast in 2007 raised many eyebrows but Beckham's work in the MLS has certainly aided the development of soccer in the United States. While the Galaxy have not enjoyed too much success on the pitch during his time at the Home Depot Center, this year's victory against Houston Dynamo saw them clinch the title. It may have been Beckham's last game for the club, and he joined a select few players in winning three league titles in three different countries.
Having been vilified in the press during his early England career, a superb individual performance in a 2002 World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford swung opinion firmly in Beckham's favour. Sven Goran-Eriksson's side needed to win or draw the game to make sure of a place in Japan and South Korea, but were trailing 2-1 with time slipping way. Beckham's work-rate in the second half was incredible and he then produced a moment of magic to curl in a 93rd minute free-kick from 25 yards out, leaving the Greek goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis with no chance.
What was remarkable about Beckham's La Liga title success with Real Madrid was that the then coach, Fabio Capello, had said he would never play for the club again after his move to LA was announced in January. However, Beckham fought his way back into Capello's first team and along with his galactico team-mates, clinched the Primera Division title ahead of Barcelona on the last day of the season. It was Beckham's only piece of silverware with Los Blancos, but a fine way to sign off.
We'll never know how much influence Beckham's whopping Galaxy salary had in deciding his move across the pond. He regularly stated that he was interested in promoting football in America, but the amount of money changing hands was quite staggering. Beckham signed a $250million five-year contract with the club when he moved, which included his salary and sponsorship rights.
Following Kevin Keegan's departure as Three Lions coach, Peter Taylor took the job in a caretaker capacity, and it was Taylor who first gave Beckham the captain's armband, which he did not relinquish until 2006. It was a bold move at the time, as Beckham had endured a difficult international career previously; indeed, he stuck his middle finger up at supporters following a defeat to Portugal earlier in the year.
Beckham's antagonistic relationship with the England fans stemmed from an incident at the 1998 World Cup in France, when he was sent off against Argentina in the second round for a kick on Diego Simeone. Petulant yes, but not malicious. The reaction in the press was sensationalist to say the least and soon after there were death threats, while an effigy of Beckham was hung outside a London pub. His transition from villain to hero may have been completed with the free-kick against Greece, but scoring the winner from the penalty spot against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup group stage was an emotional moment - reflected in his passionate celebration. Beckham was awarded an OBE in 2003.
On the opening day of the 1996/7 Premier League season came a moment of brilliance that made him a household name. United were cruising 2-0 at Selhurst Park against Wimbledon and Beckham picked up the ball just inside his own half. He spotted the opposition goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line and floated a delicious shot over him and into the back of the net without taking a bounce. It was in this campaign that he began to make his mark on the first team.
Any player in the Manchester United team of 1999 will probably see that year as the pinnacle of his career. A Premier League and FA Cup triumph was followed by the Champions League title, after a dramatic night against Bayern Munich in Barcelona. United were 1-0 down to the Germans at the end of normal time, but two injury-time goals, both from Beckham corners, saw a remarkable turnaround. He finished runner up to Rivaldo in 1999's European and World Player of the Year awards.
Beckham earned his 109th England cap in a friendly with Slovakia in March 2009, surpassing the previous record held by Bobby Moore. Goalkeeper Peter Shilton is the only player to have made more appearances, 125, but Beckham's landmark was the culmination of a fine career. 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."
Darren you do not know what your on about mate - 10. Yeah he was part of a great team, which they won together, and Beckham himself majorly contributed. 9. If you had a chance to watch the games leading up, he was inspirational - at 36 years old, multimillions in the bank, he still wants to put it all in for his team and look at what he got in return - thoroughly deserved in my eyes. 8. Anyone in their right mind couldn't criticize Beckham on the day we played Greece, Beckham played out of position (or in every position) because everyone else wasn't on form! He hardly was at fault for the goals and in fact was monumental in everything we did that day, finished off with a perfect freekick. 7. He was out of favour with Madrid through poor form - but he was also brought back for his determination to improve and again look at his contribution to the side that season - he got back into the England squad and Real Madrid squad as they needed him and his abilities! 6. This I agree with you, he is very highly paid and most of it coming from off field endorsements - shouldnt be an achievement. 5. A man who actually wears his heart on his sleeve and would give his soul for England - an influential captain who leads by example! 4. He knew exactly where he was hitting that penalty, he hit the ball perfectly and while the keeper could have saved it ..... he didn't, we went through, and Argentina went out - sweet revenge in my book! 3. As you quite rightly recognised, a somewhat daring goal. 2. A team that could have had more success than they did. Nonetheless, in my opinion the greatest United team ever produced and Beckham again was instrumental in their success - you just need to go on youtube and see the assists he created. 1. Beckham has and will always give his all for England - no1 has yet to replicate his ability to pass and dictate play like he does, in addition...when was a freekick last scored by England? LEGEND!
Posted 01:07 26th November 2011
Darren, your views are so ridiculous you need to take a long hard look at your self. Your top 10 useless comments are a joke!! i bet every person who reads your comments thinks your a bit daft. 10 : Scored in that game. 9. Something you have never achieved. 8. Most passionate player on that pitch fighting for everything. 7. Like you said in comment 10, part of a good squad so still counts as a winner. 6. Your jealous plus he's an icon of the game. 5. Along with every other skipper since 66 as we have not won a thing. 4. Still won us the game. (Your Argentine really) 3. scoring goals has nothing to do with Posh. 2. league, Fa cup and CL. Underachieving? behave!!! 1. so what about all the ex England players that have missed pens? assume you would have them all kicked out the the team. Young English Athletes would be proud to play with him......you sir are a moron.
Posted 00:12 26th November 2011
Me thinks Darren Nelson is jealous of a man with a hugely successful career.
Posted 00:09 26th November 2011
It is interesting how insignificant pions (like Darren Nelson) are so fixated of dissing great people. Beckham did do those 10 things and a lot more. Not the world's greatest player but probably the greatest diplomat for the sport and a great representative for his country.
Posted 23:49 25th November 2011
Darren, pipe down!! never has a englishman been so proud and honoured to wear the three lions!! nor has anyone in recent years been such a consumate professional. In the greece game, he covered almost every blade of grass on that pitch, yes obviously out of position at times, but arent most players?? he showed fighting spirit and committment, and an ability to lift a group of floundering players on his own, therefore demonstrating his qualities as an effective captain, enough said. Above comments suggest jealousy....
Posted 23:37 25th November 2011
Darren Nelson, you are obviously an idiot!
Posted 22:44 25th November 2011
Re Darren Nelson: what are you talking about? David Beckham is one of the best English footballers of my generation. He is one of the best passers/crossers of the ball that the footballing world has ever seen. In the match the against Greece he was single-handedly the player who pulled us through that match. And at the end of the day who cares if he missed ten or so attempts as you put, the important one flew into the back of the net. Re Argentina 7th June 2002, the amount of bottle that it took for him to even step up to the penalty spot was monumental let alone score it Re Man United Treble winners: What a massive underachievement that was (& I'm an Arsenal fan). If match fit he should definitely be selected for the olympics as he would bring massive amounts of experience, quality and most importantly passion. If players want to play we should get behind them and support our team GB. And at the end of the day 89th minute with a free kick near the edge of the box, I know who i want on the field.
Posted 22:32 25th November 2011
that is bit too much for me darren..... time to go see the doc m8, i think u have a major problem with someone else doing ok for themselves
Posted 22:27 25th November 2011
Darren Nelson I can't help but sense a bit of jealousy in that comment? Sorry I typed your name into google and nothing significant came up? Can't have had too many achievements in your life your self? Sit down.
Posted 22:13 25th November 2011
RE: Darren Nelson Beckham is a hero, end of.
Posted 22:12 25th November 2011
mate you talk tosh!!! another beckham hater... im a spurs fan and think he has been a great ambassador for the game,always 100% effort. His passion for england embarasses the current england team
Posted 21:19 25th November 2011
Darren Nelson below clearly showing his knowledge, or lack of it? David was a phenominal player in his day, both for England and for United. You just have to look at the antics of one Calos Tevez to see that David was and still is a role model on a global scale. Yes he may not be at the peak of his powers now but his desire to give 110% for his country can never been questioned. The guy has given and will continue to give you experience and unquestionable passion when wearing his country`s colours. To return in the way he did from the incident at World Cup 98. He was hated by everyone, the media wanted his head. The biggest compliment you could give the guy is that even City supporters recognize what he has done for his country and for football in general.
Posted 20:49 25th November 2011
Darren Nelson - you're an idiot
Posted 20:32 25th November 2011
darren nelson you are an idiot! nothing else to add
Posted 20:24 25th November 2011
I would like to see Darren's list of accomplishments to see a comparison. Either that or he should get out there and attempt to do any one of the things on the top ten list. You can't deny that Becks has a special talent. Maybe instead of criticizing someone out of jealousy you should give the guy some credit for his work ethic and persistance.
Posted 20:01 25th November 2011
Re Beckham's achievements lets have a look again shall we . 10. He was part of a great squad of players most of who made it to the very top . 9. Mickey mouse trophy 8. Ran around in the second half like a headless chicken , thus the midfield had no shape and Neville was constantly having to cover for him , he WAS the reason we were trailing to the mighty Greece at home , the free kick it was his tenth or so attempt in the match so one was bound to go in . 7. He WAS out of favour at Madrid , he was a disruptive influence, whilst he was there as well . 6. Highest paid for what ? and the instigator of the WAG culture 5. The most ineffective England captain of all time. 4. The penalty v Argentina was scuffed, [ he has a habit of planting his foot down ] if it were not for the pace it would have been saved . 3. GREAT INDIVIDUAL SKILL , from a player who at this time was more concerned with the game , Before the Marriage to Posh spice changed him forever. 2. Again in a team of great players who actually underachieved. 1. THIS I HAVE A REAL PROBLEM WITH , HE SHOULD HAVE NEVER PLAYED AGAIN AFTER THE PENALTY MISS V FRANCE, AND IT'S A DISGRACE THE AMOUNT OF CAP'S HE HAS [ albeit the last thirty or so coming from substitute appearances ] SHOULD NEVER HAVE HAD MORE THAN SEVENTY CAP'S FOR ENGLAND. AND NOW HE WANTS TO TAKE THE ATTENTION AWAY FROM OUR ATHLETES AT THE OLYMPICS.
Posted 19:30 25th November 2011
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