Posts Tagged ‘real madrid


David Beckham: One of the great men!

David Beckham: illusionist or one of the great men?

Against Greece on October 6, 2001 when England needed to draw to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, David Beckham was the key that unlocked the door. People remember the last gasp free-kick but what about his never say die attitude, his consistent galloping all over the pitch, his persistent eagerness to win the ball and set England rolling, his heroic urgency to single-handedly drag his team and nation out of the hole?

Becks at Real.In the club game his CV shines. Six Premier League titles and a Champions League crown with Manchester United; a La Liga medal with Real Madrid and four years when he was without doubt the most valuable outfield player among a squad of world class talents, inspiring the club to the title in 2006. Now, he has added membership of Italy’s greatest sporting institution to the equivalents in England and Spain. Pitching up to a squad filled with players of the quality of Kaka, Pato and Seedorf, he has excelled and wowed them all. How many British players can say they have done the same? Not only to take the risk of experiencing a new culture, a new language and new footballing landscape, but to have the aptitude and intelligence to make these moves a success? Out of the so-called ‘Golden generation’ of English footballers, Becks is the only one.

So many English players are content to chug along in the Premier League, picking up their hefty wage packets, failing to develop their craft away from these shores. Would Steven Gerrard not benefit from experiencing the more technically advanced and intricate Spanish game? Could this be the one element that has made him fall short at international level? Adding guile to his already outstanding attributes could turn one of the best players in the world into the best player in the world. Michael Owen, a great player in his day, took the risk. This risk may not have paid off, but at least he had the courage and inclination to give it a go and were it not for his suspect hamstrings and knee ligaments, he would have returned a better player.

The ‘greatness’ of a player is not restrained within the insular boundary of the football pitch. What he does off the pitch should be considered as well. In this department David Beckham stands alone. He refused to bite at the England fans when they shouted “May your son die of cancer” in the aftermath of the 1998 World Cup disaster. He turned a blind eye to thousands of opposition supporters who screamed obscenities and death threats at his wife and family year after year. When his face was cut and his pride dented by the flying boot of Sir Alex Ferguson in February 2003, he declined to point the finger. When he was banished to the reserves in his final year at Real did he kick up a stink and complain at the undoubted unfairness of his situation? No. He kept his head down, trained harder than ever, uttered not a word against his club and somehow managed to make the most stubborn and hard-nosed manager in world football eat humble pie.

Becks with UNICEF.Contrary to popular belief, David Beckham was the most galactic of the galacticos on the pitch, but the greatest of earthlings when he walked off it. A humble, polite and unselfish man, his work for charity and unfaltering decency have put the majority of his fellow footballers to shame. Both in Italy and Spain he is revered as a true English gentleman. If he is not held in quite such esteem within his own land, perhaps it is because the majority of his countrymen no longer know what an English gentleman is?

Perhaps they are so racked with envy, so disgusted and appalled that one man could be simultaneously so talented, so rich and so humble that their meagre minds are incapable of disguising their contempt?

Some people say that David Beckham was never a great player, merely a good one – someone who hoodwinked the world into believing that he was deserving of accolades and success. I disagree. David Beckham was and always will be a great player, a great professional and above all, a great man.

David Beckham, one of the great men!


David Beckham: The illusionist

Enough is enough. The time has come to reveal the preened and pruned Leytonstone native for what he really is. An overhyped, overrated, over the hill show-pony. For nearly 15 years this limited and selfish footballer has pulled the wool over the eyes of the world. How can someone so devoid of pace, so poor in the air and so weak defensively have fooled us for so long? I, for one, have had it up to here. It is time to reveal the truth about the ‘great’ David Beckham.

Becks in his pants.Beckham is, and always was, overrated. Roberto Carlos used to joke that his second touch was a tackle. He was wrong. More often than not his first touch was a tackle, and a weak and badly timed one at that. He has never had pace, is useless outside of dead ball situations, gets lost against competent defenders, does not track back and is popular only because he has promoted himself so astutely, what with his (apparently) dazzling looks and charismatic personality. When we look back at the late nineties and noughties, what will we remember? Will it be the elegant pirouettes of Zidane, the mesmerising stepovers of Ronaldo, the slaloming runs of Messi or the oh-so famous free kicks of David Beckham? My instinct tells me it will not be the latter.

The amazing thing about all this that he has managed to fool so many of the world’s leading managers. Sir Alex Ferguson, Sven Goran Eriksson, Fabio Cappello and now Carlo Ancellotti have all been seduced by the Beckham myth. Indeed, who would have thought that Ancelotti, the revered godfather of Italian football, would fall prey to the Beckham Delusion? The AC Milan coach has fought hard to keep the tired 33 year old Beckham at his club, a fact that has left me, for one, scratching my head. Surely he realises that Beckham, even more so than ever, is merely a marketing gimmick? Can he not see through the carefully orchestrated hype and fanfare?

But perhaps we are being a bit hard on Ancelotti. After all, Sir Alex Ferguson, perhaps the greatest British manager of all time, also fell prey to the Beckham delusion. For a decade the Scot  selected the “walking underpants commercial” for 265 Premier League matches, which, I am sure you will agree, is a  ruinous indictment of Ferguson’s managerial insight. I mean, Manchester United only scraped together six league titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League in that period. Just think what they could have achieved with a decent player hugging that right touchline.

Becks all alone.But the Beckham myth runs even deeper. In the Fifa World Player of the Year awards, Beckham has finished runner-up on two occasions, an achievement that places him well above any other English player. How can an award voted for by the leading players and coaches in the world have led to such a mystifying and unjustified result?

The little matter of eight consecutive years in the top ten European footballers of the year, a record, only adds to my confusion. Has the footballing world gone mad? Does it imply that those who earn their corn from playing and understanding the game are somehow out of their minds?

Or might it mean that those who have had a an axe to grind with  Beckham – who have ridiculed, goaded and loathed him; who have constantly dismissed his wonderful abilities as media hype; who have regarded his admirers as unlearned armchair fanatics; who have demeaned his extraordinary achievements by suggesting that they were the consequence of having played alongside more gifted individuals; who have written him off time after time without ever having the decency to admit their wrongs – could it be that it is they who have been labouring under the delusion all along?

Find out here, only in The Mixer…


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