"Tiger Woods & Michael Jordan are respected. Beckham is loved"

Whether or not you agree with the quotation — attributable to Professor of Culture, Ellis Cashmore — there is no denying the unwieldy impact the 20 year career of David Beckham has had on the footballing word. The last fortnight has  been congested with the retirements of legendary figures in football but none can truly claim to have the same adored status of David Beckham. Beckham has said to the media 'nothing will ever replace playing the game I love' and for fans of the beautiful game, nothing will ever replace Beckham. But what is the secret to David's unrivaled success? Even at his peak, there were players who outshone him. How did he go from being David Beckham the baller to David Beckham the brand? Here is AP's take on the key ingredients to why we all love David.

Footballing skill
While it may be overhyping Becks to call him one of the greatest the game has ever seen, you cannot question that he was definitely nearing those heights. Laser-beam accurate passing and distribution, relentless conditioning and some of the best direct free-kicks in the game. All this combined with a unwavering psyche celibrated aby sport's psychologists the world over — intensely competitive and composed under even the most intense pressures. Who will ever forget his 30-yard, injury-time free kick against Greece to secure England's spot in the 2002 World Cup? His footballing culminated in his winning the  UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award and two 2nd place awards in the FIFA World Football Player of the Year award.

                                                     Marriage to Posh
As soon as he started dating Victoria 'Posh' Adams in 1997, Beckham instantly became an appropriate conversation topic for women as opposed to the fairly male-dominated realm of football fans. Suddenly Beckham became known outside of football — this would become increasingly the case as his career progressed. What has made Beckham particularly likable with his marriage to Posh is that they have remained committed to one another and have made a very nice family together (peculiar children names aside), comparing positively to the infamous debauchery of the likes of Ryan Giggs, John Terry and Wayne Rooney.  Beckham went from footballer to celebrity. 

Multi-national acclaim
Beckham's career would evolve yet again in the Summer 2003 transfer window as he was signed by European juggernauts Real Madrid for a handsome fee of €35 million. After moving to Madrid, Beckham competed and won honors in the Planet's top footballing league's including La Liga, Serie A, MLS and Ligue 1. This, adding to Beckham's radical success in the premiership, make Beckham one of the most decorated players to have competed in so many different leagues. As a result of this  global success, there are no fans of football who are not aware of Beckham's greatness. When Beckham signed for PSG last season French fans were not so much excited for the impact Beckham would have but rather just the prestige of having such a decorated heritage player at their club. 

Media involvement
A career move factoring in to the world's adoration of Beckham is his frequent involvement in top advertising and modelling campaigns. His clean family image, marketable good looks and skill as a footballer mean leading brands pay millions for Beckham's image. Beckham's face has become synonymous with some of the Planet's biggest brands like Adidas, Brylcream, Pepsi, Samsung, Vodaphone, and Sainsbury's. This constant presence in the media has meant that for the last decade no-one has spent a long time without seeing the glowing smile of Beckham on our TV screens, pasted on the side of buses or on the internet. This means that without knowing him we still have a certain familiarity with Beckham which naturally turns into a nostalgia-infused affection. 

Its hard to not feel some sort of warmth towards Beckham, conducting numerous charitable endeavors alongside his career as both a footballer and an international brand icon. Even since his early days at Man United Beckham has been an ambassador for UNICEF and he has continued this trend throughout his career lending his support and all the publicity his name brings with it to charities fighting hardships such as poverty, malaria and AIDs. This charitable footballing career was capped off last year by his agreement to donate 100% of his wages from PSG to children's charities in Paris. Alongside his support of numerous charities, Beckham has supported youth academies seeking to bring high level football to inner-city children. 

All in all it isn't hard to see how Beckham has achieved the beloved status of the world's millions of football fans. He has always been an inspirational figure, both epitomising the importance of hard work while demonstrating how to conduct one's self amidst the success which such hard work brings. His retirement brings with it the end of an era and his presence in the game will be sorely missed. Personally I would have loved to see Beckham compete in the English leagues once more; fingers crossed that some day he'll decide to turn his hand to management!

Disagree with my appraisal of Beckham's career?! Believe he was more brand, less [foot]ball?! Let me know in a comment!

1 comment:

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