The 10 moments that define David Beckham's footballing career
One of Britain's most iconic sporting exports, David Beckham has announced his retirement from football.
On the back of his announcement, we take a look back at the 10 moments which have helped to define his career to date.
From the low of his sending-off at the 1998 World Cup to the high of that unforgettable free-kick against Greece, it's a chance to relive Beckham's journey into footballing folklore.
Goal from halfway against Wimbledon
The first day of the new Premier League season 1996. Welcome David Beckham. After the excitement of beating Kevin Keegan's Newcastle to the title in the previous season, hopes were high for the Red Devils and, after taking a two-goal lead, Beckham sealed victory at Selhurst Park with a superb strike that will go down in Premiership history. Seeing Dons keeper Neil Sullivan off his line, Beckham duly powered home from the half-way line, and did so in boots custom-made for somebody else... so thanks to Charlie Miller for the boot swap.
World Cup 1998 sending off
After already scoring at the 1998 World Cup, David Beckham lined up in England's all-important quarter-final with arch-rivals Argentina. With the game locked at 2-2, and an enticing second half in prospect, Beckham was bundled to the ground by Diego Simeone. Whilst lying on the floor Beckham kicked out at Simeone resulting in a red card. England went on to lose 4-3 on penalties with the British media blaming Beckham for the Three Lions' exit.
Beckham's gesture to fans against Portugal
Following the infamous sending off at World Cup 1998, Beckham's reputation wasn't fully restored amongst the England fans and, after a 3-2 defeat to Portugal at Euro 2000, the England midfielder was subject to a torrent of abuse. Beckham reacted at the end of the game and was seen gesturing to the small section of England supporters. However, he escaped any form of punishment and, in a shock move, was supported by the British media.
Captaining England 2000
After the resignation of Kevin Keegan, caretaker manager Peter Taylor appointed Beckham as England captain on November 15, 2000. His first game as captain saw England go down 1-0 away to Italy, however, this was the first of 59 games Beckham would captain his country. He remains fourth in the all-time list for number of England games as skipper.
That goal against Greece
Beckham's popularity was restored to its peak after scoring the goal that sent England to the 2002 World Cup. After a difficult qualifying campaign, England only needed a draw at home to Greece - on paper a simple enough task. But after a torturous afternoon when they twice fell behind, it wasn't until the 93rd minute that they got the result they needed. After failing with numerous free-kicks before, Beckham stepped up and curled home a memorable free-kick to send the Three Lions to the World Cup.
Breaking the metatarsal
After firing England to the World Cup, Beckham returned to club duty with Manchester United in the Champions League. A rash tackle from Deportiva La Coruna's Aldo Duscher left Beckham with a broken bone in his foot, ruling him out for up to eight weeks. The British public instantly became transformed into metatarsal experts as Beckham faced a race against time to be fit for England's World Cup opener. He miraculously recovered in time, but could not prevent another early exit for his country as Brazil triumphed 2-1 in the quarter-finals.
Fight with Fergie
The famous Sir Alex Ferguson dressing room dressing-down was taken to the next level in 2003, after an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, when Beckham was on the wrong end of a flying boot. Following the team's 2-0 exit to the Gunners, Beckham emerged a few days later with a cut above his eye with reports suggesting the injury was inflicted after Fergie threw a boot at him. Beckham was sold five months later.
Move to Madrid
Following the infamous bust-up with Fergie, which left Beckham needing stitches, transfer rumours were rife. Speculation peaked as he was linked with a mega-move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, a transfer which was completed on July 1, 2003. Costing Madrid £25million, Beckham took the number 23 shirt, citing his admiration for fellow number 23 wearer Michael Jordan as his reason behind the choice. He spent four years in the Spanish capital, eventually winning La Liga in his final season.
Move to LA
A deteriorating relationship with those in charge at Real Madrid gave rise to another build-up of frenzied transfer speculation. Despite being linked with many clubs in Europe, Beckham agreed a deal with MLS outfit LA Galaxy in a deal worth something in the region of $6.5million a year. Despite the cost, LA Galaxy reportedly earned more back in revenue as David Beckham was transformed into, not only a globally recognised footballer, but a globally recognised product. This said, rumours that his move was purely for money have since been quashed as Beckham has fulfilled his contract and is now, once again, at the centre of yet more transfer speculation.
2008 saw David Beckham join a select group of international players, including Bobby Moore and Bobby Charlton, by earning his 100th cap for his country. The match itself, a 1-0 defeat to France, played second fiddle to a special night for an England player who has had a tumultuous international career to say the least. Red cards, free-kicks and gestures riddled his Three Lions career, but Beckham went on to make 115 appearances making him the second-highest capped player in English history.