David Beckham was great at crossing the ball, and you cannot just deny it. He whipped them in time and time again. And more often than not, it reaches to its intended target. He was reasonably good at free kicks. That one against Greece stands tall among a host of other superb strikes. But strangely that's the only thing what he can do. And by his reputation in the world of football, that's below par for sure. But there is a list of things that he can't do. Wingers are meant to run at defenders, dribble through the entire line of defence and sometimes cross the ball or cut inside to hit a curler. He was never fast, scored a goal in every five appearances in a United shirt. And that too, when he was in his “prime”. He can't dribble and rarely tried to pass a man.
Not one of the best, but a legend, right? Actually not. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the legend is an unbelievable story. Something almost unthinkable. Will I be telling my kids that “he was good at free kicks”? In that respect, David Luiz is a legend? He is excellent at crosses from deep inside his own half and has an excellent free kick technique. And oh boy, he can defend too. Okay, look at Christian Eriksen. He is particularly good at free kicks, and he certainly has more to his game than just that.
Now please don't come with, “he has win loads of trophies there”. The point is that he played in one of the greatest sides of all time. All of them were potential match winners. And then at 28, he moved to Real Madrid in a multi-pound deal. He scored 20 goals in 155 appearances for the Los Blancos. That average out to be a goal in every eight outings for the club. He joined LA Galaxy four years later, and you could guess that his prime years are well past him. And he played there until 37, netting a goal in every sixth appearance for the club. That was a lousy league, to be honest, and these numbers aren't good enough. He had only one glory event with the England national side. That inch-perfect strike which found its way into the back of the net against Greece which propelled England into the Euros. And he had a lot of horrible moments in the white shirt. That red card or that missed tackle which led to a disaster for England. Do you expect these from the captain?
In this footballing world which relies more on marketing than real skills, he seemed to be the perfect icon for this industry. Here we will look at why he was mostly OVERRATED throughout his career:
First among equals:
Even after years of retiring from the game, he is still the most famous footballing figure in England and one of the top names across the globe. But only a few reasons behind this is actually due to his heroics on the football pitch. Emerged as Fergie's fledgelings, he is one member of United's golden generation of dazzling young starlets. He averaged a goal in every five appearances for the Red Devils. But many people rank him as the best player in the history of Premier League. Then, what about Giggs, Scholes, Lampard, Gerrard, Lineker, and Shearer?
His stint at Real Madrid:
At 28, he made the switch to Real Madrid. Many experts rate it as a move that was less due to footballing reasons and more to broaden his horizons and emerge as a world icon. Though, he survived the complicated politics at the Los Blancos and played for four years straight. Not many players could afford more than one. He was more than just a player at the club. Fans admired him because of his work rate and humility but were not fooled into thinking that he had the skills of Ronaldo, Zidane and Ronaldinho- the man Barcelona built their team around when Beckham turned them down.
The Golden Generation:
England had a squad capable of dominating the world in the early 2000s. And David Beckham is often considered as the centre of all this. His Free Kick showed his grit and dedication for the three Lions. His inspirational performances helped them to qualify for the Euro Championships in 2004. But he had some major lows with the national side as well. His missed tackle ultimately led to Brazil scoring in the 2002 World Cup quarter-final. The embarrassing WAGs circus in England's campaign at the 2006 World Cup came under his captaincy only. He scored a total of 17 goals in 117 appearances for the national side. Certainly not a legendary status by any means.
Actually, criticising him is a bit odd. He is undoubtedly a good guy with a beautiful smile, and you suspect that he really loves his mum. But as a footballer, he was overhyped (because of English media) and went on to earn more money than his peers. He is known more for his personality and canny marketing than anything he did with the ball. And watching his final act before retirement- coming on as a late sub to take a time-wasting corner as PSG clinched the French League- scene stealing but mostly irrelevant. It just perfectly sums it up for the man!