On the eve of David Beckham’s century of England caps we thought we’d take a look back at one of the of the most inspirational careers in world football.
Beckham’s greatest asset has always been his ‘bouncebackability‘ and his greatest highs have often been driven by his darkest lows – write him off at your peril because he almost invented the recipe for humble pie.
Here’s a look at some of the makes and breaks that have made Beckham the legend he is…
High – Don’t do anything by halves
By sailing one of his Hollywood balls over a scrambling Neil Sullivan from the half way line Beckham scored a goal that even Pele couldn’t manage, although he said he was more proud of Eric Cantona’s nod of approval.
Low – Trouble and strife
It was around this time that Beckham met Victoria Beckham and, while he may disagree, many have blamed his part in the Posh and Becks celebrity double act for ruining his relationship with managers and becoming consumed by a global brand of fame.
High – Don’t call it a comeback
All seemed lost in the dying moments of the 1999 Champions League final but two pinpoint crosses from Beckham allowed Sheringham and then Solksjaer to score the winning goals and leave ze Germans crying into the turf.
Low – A kick in the face from Fergie
A lacklustre performance against Arsenal saw Fergie let loose with a flying boot that happened to hit the most marketable face in football – while appearing ‘stiched up’ in the papers spelt the end of his United career.
Low – Argy bargy
Becks petulant kick at Diego Simeone that led to his sending off in the 1998 World Cup declared him Public Enemy No. 1 when he returned home and a burning effigy was even hung outside of a London pub.
High – Holding out for a hero
The free-kick goal in the last second of the game against Greece that sent us through to the World Cup in 2002 will probably be remembered as Becks’ greatest moment – just a shame about the Mohican.
Low – Falling out with Fabio
After being forced by Real Madrid to search for a new club, Beckham’s decision to sign for LA Galaxy provoked Fabio Capello to say he would never play for the club again.
High – The Real deal
Beckham proved the ultimate professional by regaining his place in the Real Madrid team without complaint and his efforts were rewarded with Real’s first title for four years.
Low – McClaren makes a mistake
Obviously keen to assert his authority as new national coach, Steve McClaren decided that his England revolution could do without Beckham – and the rest is history.
High – Guess who’s back?
McClaren faced an embarrassing about turn to bring Beckham back albeit too late to save qualification for the European Championships but, if all goes well on Wednesday, Capello should crown his career with 100 England caps.