Beckham or Ronaldo? The Debate panellists weigh in
After Marcus Rashford was asked to pick between Manchester United's two legendary free-kick specialists, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, the discussion continued on Monday with four more ex-United players joining in.
Rashford was taking part in a fan Q&A session in which Charles N, from Kenya, put it to him: "Who do you think was better at free-kicks... Beckham or Cristiano!?"
Having watched Ronaldo train while playing for the United Academy as a youngster, Rashford picked his childhood hero, but paid tribute to Beckham's technique and his workrate in practising set pieces.
Four United players of a different generation, all of whom played for the club in the 1990s or 2000s, answered the same question in The Debate, which you can watch below.
Wes Brown made no hesitation in picking David Beckham straight away.
“He'd put it on a plate anywhere he wanted, even if it wasn't a free-kick, even if he wasn't crossing the ball,” Wes told The Debate's host Niall McCaughan.
“I've never really seen anybody do it better.
“Ronaldo had a special free-kick, yeah – like the Portsmouth one against David James – but Becks could put it anywhere.”
David May agreed that he's “not seen a better taker than Becks” while Ben Thornley offered an explanation for Marcus' choice.
“I can understand why Marcus chose that because I was at Stamford Bridge when he scored one of those Ronaldo-type free-kicks, that unbelievable strike from 40-odd yards,” Thronley remembered.
“He'd probably been trying to emulate that for a while and did it in a perfect game.”
“They were both fabulous players [Ronaldo and Beckham]. I played with Becks when I was 15-16. He was forever out there practising, practising, practising and it came to fruition, the number of free-kicks, the number of crosses he put in, the number of goals he created.
“How he never won the Ballon d'Or in 1999 when they won the Treble I'll never know, because that season was his season. He was a terrific player that practised and worked so hard at one particular skill. It came off. In every single game, he did something wonderful with the ball at his feet.”
Danny Webber made it a clean sweep for David Beckham.
“Wes quite rightly put it, Ronaldo scored 'special' free-kicks and changed the way the free-kick was taken with that wobbler that my ankles couldn't handle, but in terms of Becks, his free-kicks were unbelievable. Wherever it is, you'd always think, when the ball was put down, this is going in. That's the confidence you'd have.”