David Beckham announced his retirement from professional football today. Luke Moore looks back over five iconic moments from his career...
"In what was surely Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest achievement, Manchester United secured an historic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in some style. Beckham was instrumental to Ferguson’s side, his assists and goals proving invaluable throughout the campaign."
After more than 700 professional appearances and less than two weeks after his 38th birthday, David Beckham has announced his retirement from professional football. We look back at five standout moments from the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Milan and Paris Saint Germain man's career.
Manchester United v Wimbledon, August 1996
On the first day of the 1996-97 season, United travelled to Selhurst Park to face Joe Kinnear's Wimbledon. With United leading 0-2, Beckham picked up the ball in his own half, spotted goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line and floated a perfect lob over his head and into the Wimbledon net. Beckham rapidly went from hot prospect to household name in the time it took for journalists to write up their match reports. A star was born. Beckham would eventually go on to on to win the FA Young Player of the Year award.
England v Colombia, World Cup 1998
Having been left out entirely of England's first group game against Tunisia and only appearing from the bench in the 1-2 defeat against Romania after being accused of a lack of focus by manager Glenn Hoddle, Beckham was thrust into the fray for the vital final clash against Colombia.
After Darren Anderton had given England the lead, Beckham notched his first goal for England with a wicked curling free kick after half an hour. He would go on to captain his country and become England's most-capped outfield player.
Argentina v England, World Cup 1998
Just a few days after scoring his first goal for his country, Beckham would face the first real test of his career. Fouled by Diego Simeone, he lashed out in retaliation and earned himself a red card at the hands of Kim Milton Nielsen. Reaction back in the UK ranged from the disappointed to the completely over the top, not helped by the ludicrous coverage in some tabloid newspapers. It would take Beckham a number of years to work his way back into the hearts of English football fans, but his redemption was complete upon firing home a penalty against the same opponents four years later in Sapporo.
The Treble, Manchester United, 1998-99
In what was surely Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest achievement, Manchester United secured an historic treble of Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in some style. Beckham was instrumental to Ferguson's side, his assists and goals proving invaluable throughout the campaign.
Everyone remembers the FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal for the now legendary Ryan Giggs goal in extra time, a mazy effort from deep, finished with a thumping shot into the roof of the net. But take a look at this goal from Beckham, scored early in the first half, a superb strike that deserves more credit than it subsequently received.
England v Greece, October 2001
England needed to at least draw against Greece in their World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford in October 2001 to be sure of a place in Japan and South Korea. With time quickly running out, the Three Lions were 1-2 down and staring failure in the face. Enter Beckham.
After Teddy Sheringham was fouled ten yards outside the area, the free kick specialist stepped up and sent a swirling, whipping free kick over the wall and beyond Nikopolidis in the Greece goal. It was a moment of genuine class at a vital time for England.
Beckham's retirement has come on the day that Roy Hodgson has announced his England squad for two friendlies against Republic of Ireland and next year's World Cup hosts Brazil. Back your World Cup 2014 winner here.