David Beckham - the footballer

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November 22nd, 2011 Aabhas Sharma

When asked to comment on David Beckham, Manchester United legend George Best had this to say: “”He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that he’s all right.” Despite Beckham, being one of the most-well known football players in the last 15 years or so, he never gets the credit he deserves. There’s always this talk about Brand Beckham and how it’s his former Spice Girl wife Victoria who wears the pants in the Beckham household.

There’s no doubt that being as famous as Beckham brings its fair share of public glare and there are bound to be people who find that irksome. The haircuts, the tattoos, the sarong-wearing act can put some people off quite a bit. But Beckham the footballer? A sheer joy to watch,  especially when he wasn’t the most talented as compared to a Ronaldo, Ronaldinho or even Luis Figo.

On the field – I have always found him one of the best role models that kids should look up to.  The old adage “Practice makes a man perfect” could not have been more relevant than in the case of David Beckham. One of the best – if not the best – crosser of the ball you would have come across in the last two decades, Beckham for all his off-field shenanigans remains a model pro.

I have often heard or read people say on the Internet that if he wasn’t good looking or had a celebrity wife, people wouldn’t talk of him like they do now. As if he was just another average Joe who struck gold because of his good looks. You don’t play or rather become one of the star players at clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and even AC Milan (Beckham spent 12 months at Milan in two six-month loan spells) by being average. In fact, he was one of United’s best players during the club’s most successful period from 1998-2001. And yet, he is extremely underrated by football fans all over the world.

I am writing about Beckham now as last weekend he won the Major League Soccer Cup with his club Los Angeles Galaxy. Even when he moved to Los Angeles, people said it’s about the money or probably his wife wants to have a career in Hollywood. I don’t deny that such theories could be right but does that take anything away from the footballer? In my opinion, it doesn’t and he proves it on the pitch by winning trophies.

I saw Beckham in his prime and honestly I wasn’t that big a fan – for different reasons. People always assumed that you were a Manchester United fan because Beckham played for them and it used to rile me a lot. But as I watched him create goal after goal, week after week  and season after season, I wondered why do people despise him? He was a fantastic player, modest and above all someone who loved the game and cherished the fact that he was playing for some of biggest clubs in the world. Forget the ad campaigns, forget the hair styles and forget the fact that he probably loved the media chasing him and we should remember Beckham the footballer. The man who could cross the ball as well as anyone could do, the player who could score some outrageous free kicks and defy gravity with the bends he used to put on the ball. As a United fan, there’s no greater compliment I can give him than this: one of the most worthy recipients of the number 7 jersey.

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