Rude Awakening: David Beckham Wasn’t As Good As We Thought He Was

‘Sir’ David Beckham was overrated and not as good as we thought he was. There, I said it. But call off the lynch mob, flaming wooden torches, and sharpened bayonets at the ready. Hear me out.

A quick glance at the Manchester United number seven’s trophy cabinet surely suggests that one doesn’t have to stick around and do so. Though he was undoubtedly talented, however, there have been many better players to come before and after Becks – who was nowhere near the best of his era.

Nor even the best on his team. That accolade would go to Paul Scholes, lauded as the finest midfielder of his generation by legends of the game including Zinedine Zidane and Xavi. Or even Ryan Giggs for that matter.

Real Madrid must have seen something in him. Shirt sales perhaps, and the perfect chance to cash in on Brand Beckham. Many forget that at the Bernabéu, Beckham and his Galacticos were actually an underwhelming disappointment with the Champions League, having been won a year before his arrival, shortly after which a pitiful Supercopa was his only conquest in Spain until a 2006-2007 swansong La Liga when he had already announced his move to the LA Galaxy. Additionally, he was forever made to look average alongside Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo et al.

Admittedly not the only guilty suspect among a blessed group that should have done far more, Beckham possessed the unique gift of being adored by England fans despite having seldom delivered for his country. Falling into a trap perfectly laid out by wind-up merchant Diego Simeone, his sending off at France ’98 against Argentina contributed to yet another premature exit from a major tournament with his most remarkable achievement at international level a last-gasp free-kick against Greece. In a World Cup qualifier. Undoubtedly proud to represent his country, he provided little inspiration as its captain whilst a string of disappointments came one after the other.

It seems harsh to attack such a loveable character as Beckham, a devoted family man is however often when listing his qualities, few, with the exception of his dead ball expertise, remain related to actual on-field talent.

In Los Angeles, he became nothing more than an ambassador for the game and his aforementioned Brand Beckham with later stints at Milan and PSG a desperate quest to stay relevant and perhaps claim silverware along the way as was achieved with the latter through a sole 2012-2013 Ligue 1 winners medal.

Despite having been limited on the pitch, few knew better how to maximise their earning potential off it and Beckham, for better or for worse, set the blueprint for how the modern footballer could take his destiny into his own hands and share a considerable part of merchandise revenue and image rights.

Four years into retirement, David Beckham’s energy now remains solely invested into the establishment of his own MLS team in Miami as was promised to him when leaving Madrid for the States.