Goal of the Day: B is for... Beckham
Our A-Z ‘Goal of the Day’ series continues today with the letter ‘B’, for Beckham.
David graduated from the Academy as a member of the famed ‘Class of ‘92’ and went on to become one of the most famous footballers ever to have walked the Earth.
Six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League arrived between Becks’ debut in 1992 and his departure for Real Madrid 11 years later.
There were also 85 goals in 394 appearances, the last of which – against Everton in May 2003 – you can view below…
SIGNING FOR UNITED
Born in Leytonstone, Beckham was a fanatical United supporter who was first spotted when he attended one of Sir Bobby Charlton’s soccer schools. A member of the 1992 FA Youth Cup-winning side, he made his first-team debut for United later that year but truly broke through during the 1995/96 season, as a refreshed Reds unit blew away all domestic opposition to win a second Double in three seasons.
It’s not so much a moment for Becks as an entire season! Labelled a pariah by the media after his sending off against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, David bounced back in style, conjuring nine goals and 17 assists as the Reds powered to a unique Treble success. Rivaldo’s brilliance meant he missed out on the Ballon d’Or, but 1998/99 should go down as a truly hall-of-fame campaign for the then 24-year-old.
Beckham may have starred in our 1996 Double season, but he broke into the national consciousness the following August, with a sublime effort from the halfway line against Wimbledon. Known for his effectiveness from dead-ball situations, David's 18 goals from free-kicks is still a Premier League record, and he also delivered the two corners from which United scored late on to turn the 1999 Champions League final on its head.
Beckham moved to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2003 as part of Los Blancos’ famed galacticos team and claimed the La Liga title in his final season in the Spanish capital. He spent many of the latter years of his career at Los Angeles Galaxy, but returned to Europe – and Old Trafford – during a loan stint with AC Milan in 2010. Retirement in 2013 followed a five-month spell at Paris Saint-Germain.
WHAT THEY SAID
“He was extraordinary. When he first came to us he would train morning and afternoon then show up in the evening to join in with the schoolboys. At the start of each season we used to give all the players a bleep test to get a sense of their aerobic fitness, and Beckham was always off the scale. True winners are relentless. The very best players compete against themselves to become as good as they can be. They have to be dragged off the training ground.” (Sir Alex Ferguson)
“The person who has negative things to say is either jealous or hates him. Because there are no negative things to say about him.” (Zlatan Ibrahimovic, team-mate at PSG)
“David Beckham is up there with the best passers I’ve ever played with; over a long distance he was ‘radar foot’. Some left-footers look beautiful when they pass the ball. His right foot was like that – it even sounded nice when he hit the ball.” (Rio Ferdinand)