David Beckham played his final professional match two weekends ago. His footballing journey took him from Manchester to Madrid, to Los Angeles, ending in Paris. Beckham’s career was unusual from a critical standpoint – while it was his skill set that made him an international right midfielder, it was his looks that made him into the most popular athlete of his generation. In the process, he went from overrated to underrated, to perhaps, by the end of his career, properly rated. He did what he did – his crossing and free kicks were world class, and he was a consummate teammate and professional. The following are his top five on field moments that made him:
The Wimbledon goal: This signaled his arrival on the English footballing scene:
The World Cup: every hero archetype has a low point. This sending off in the knockout stages of ’98 World Cup was Beckham’s lowest moment.
The Redemption: And every hero gets their chance at redemption. With England needing to score another to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, up stepped Beckham three minutes into injury time:
Bend it like Beckham: Hollywood came calling with a story of two young Brits idolizing their favorite player’s iconic skill. The movie grossed over $75 million worldwide. After endorsements and clothing lines, this was another show of Beckham’s marketing power:
Los Angeles Glory: many questioned Beckham’s arrival to MLS in 2007. Was it a marketing grab? Did he have enough in the tank? Why play in the MLS? Although the first couple years were rocky, championships cure all. Beckham won two, and as with every stop along the way, left with his head held high: