David Beckham will face the final stage of his illustrious career in the New Year, after his time in MLS culminated in the most satisfying of finales.
In his final game for LA Galaxy, the 37-year-old helped his side retain their MLS Cup title form last year and left on a high it would have been almost impossible to top.
Beckham made the decision to move to America after being told he had no future at Real Madrid under Fabio Capello in the middle of 2006-07 season.
It was move that was widely ridiculed at the time, with many suggesting the former England captain had agreed to accept a poorer standard of football than he was used to for in exchange for a lucrative contract.
Beckham is a media sensation. He has been followed intensively by paparazzi for the majority of his professional career and helped bring the idea of footballers as image conscious commodities into the major mainstream.
He was never the first footballer to be endorsed by products, but his good looks, marriage to a pop star and burgeoning metrosexuality made him an advertising dream.
Beckham was clean-cut, an all round nice guy and a brilliant footballer, winning numerous prizes at the top of the game – his arrival coincided just in time with the increasing mainstream popularity of the sport, seen in the creation of the Premier League.
Where next for the man born in Peckham, London? He has been linked with Ligue 1 big spenders PSG and resurgent Ligue 2 club Monaco, who are funded by their own billionaire Russian.
Wherever he desices to go, it is likely to be his last major contract and we should relish the chance to get one last glimpse of a major figure world football for many years, playing at the top.
GMF remembers those early days fondly and it would be insulting to the former Manchester United man that his greatest victory was that of being a marketing miracle, as his professional career was littered with successes.
So much so that GMF would like to use this latest triumph as an excuse to look back on some of his most memorable achievements.
Announcing himself on the scene with Manchester United, Beckham showed off his sublime vision and control of the long ball when he scored a memorable strike from the half way line in a Premier League match against Winbledon. See it here…
Champions League glory
Beckham was crucial in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side making the final, as his delivery was providing numerous scoring chances for the dangerous striking duo of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. This culminated in the most dramatic of final finishes against Bayern Munich in Camp Nou, where Beckham provided the deliveries for the last minute goals that took the trophy back to Old Trafford.
England were facing the prospect of a tricky play-off against Ukraine to make it to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, after a poor performance against Greece at Old Trafford saw them 2-1 down in injury time. Beckham was captain that day and had run his socks off trying to get the Three Lions the draw they needed to win their group. He did just that with a 30-yeard free-kick that screamed past the Greek keeper and produced one of the most iconic images of an England captain in recent times. Relive it below…
Spanish triumph at the death
Beckham’s high-profile move to Real Madrid was part of the star-studded Galactico era at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the splashing out on major stars such as Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo had failed to bring the Englishman the success many had envisaged. It was not until he had already confirmed his departure to LA Galaxy that Beckham became a crucial part in Fabio Capello’s side winning La Liga in the 2006-07 season.
Beckham tastes US glory
After a slow start to his LA Galaxy career, the growing quality in MLS saw Beckham’s status draw a number of players with increasing quality. A MLS Cup Final defeat in 2009 was followed by a sublime regular season performance the next year, though a play off failure. In 2011 the deadlock was broken and Galaxy went all the way to become MLS champions.
Curtain Call to remember
After a stuttering regular season, Beckham and Galaxy clawed their way into the playoffs in the year he had confirmed would be his last with Galaxy. They managed do find some form in the knockout stages and stormed all the way to the final, where they were convincing winners. A fitting farewell tribute for Beckham as he ended a truly historic spell in the US, overseeing the emergence of the sport in a country where many doubted it would.
What was your favourite moment of David Beckham’s career? Leave a comment below to let us know…