David Beckham: A football legend or fashion icon?
When you look at the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch, David Beckham might not be in your top bracket. However, there is arguably none other with a greater sense of style, and without question, a man who has the ability to draw the attention of millions of fans around the world simply by what he is wearing.
Beckham was the poster boy for the phrase metrosexual in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Already a strikingly handsome young man, his playboy image grew. This was quickly reinforced when his highly publicized relationship began with then Spice Girl, Victoria Adams in 1997, who would later become his wife and take the name Victoria Beckham. He was unafraid to wear a hairband, sarong, nail polish or to step out in bold matching Gucci leather outfits with his wife.
Beckham became recognized as a fashion icon, and together he and his wife became lucrative spokespeople. They are now sought after by clothing designers, health and fitness specialists, fashion magazines, perfume and cosmetics manufacturers, hair stylists, exercise promoters, and spa and recreation companies. This power couple exudes an entrepreneurial fashion sense and style.
That said, it would be unfair to label Beckham as more a fashion icon than a footballer. For all the glitz and glamour, the London-born midfielder could certainly back it up on the pitch. When you look at his humble beginnings and career history, the tale goes much deeper. Coming from a middle-class family, he began playing at a very young age, leaving the family home to train, travel and play as a youth.
He made his professional debut breaking onto the scene with Manchester United at the young age of 17 in 1992. Beckham was a hugely pivotal part of the team’s success in the late 90’s. Mild-mannered, cool and collected (apart from that red card moment in the 1998 World Cup match against Argentina) he has grown up in the public eye to become a gentleman with a quiet elegance, very unlike the old school image of a rough and tumble footballer.
Many hoped his success would transfer onto the international stage. With the talented group of players at Glenn Hoddle’s disposal, England was highly tipped for great things at the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Unfortunately, this star-studded cast of players would eventually be knocked out in the second round of the competition after suffering defeat to old foe, Argentina. It was certainly a night to forget for Beckham.
After lying prone on the floor, the right-sided midfielder lashed out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone and, with the indiscretion taking place under the eyeline of Danish referee Kim Milton Nielsen, he was subsequently given a red card. Although the sending off was not necessarily the reason for England’s demise, it was the resulting penalty shoot-out that proved to be their ultimate undoing.
Beckham’s uncharacteristic indelicacy certainly drew the ire of an entire nation. The weeks and months that followed in the 1998/99 season, Beckham was vilified by rival fans for his indiscretion against Argentina. For a moment, he was considered English football’s “Public Enemy Number One.” The bile that spewed in Beckham’s direction was almost never-ending. There were rumours that the player may decide to move abroad for sunnier climates, if only to get away from the barrage of hate.
Of course, when it comes to Beckham, one could arge that every inch of his career has been stage-managed. With a storyline of redemption being written so soon in the new millennium, cynics could suggest this was all part of his grand plan.
Beckham’s comeback was split into two parts. The first was his incredible free-kick to send England to the 2002 World Cup in Korea/Japan, as with seconds to go Sven Goran Eriksson’s men were set to enter the playoff phase. Beckham stepped forward and with his magic wand (his right foot), he performed an unbelievable act. He scored an outrageous effort from 35 yards. To top it off, only seconds of the match with Greece were remaining. Seemingly single-handedly, he had booked the Three Lions’ ticket to the Far East.
It would be in Japan, that the stage was set for Beckham’s overall redemption. When former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino felled Michael Owen in the box, a penalty was quickly awarded. Who else would step up?
Yes, that’s right: David Beckham, now sporting an edgy mohawk. Even with the bad boy appearance, including a growing number of tattoos, Beckham still exhibited gentlemanly style by insisting on covering his body art by wearing long sleeves during games out of respect for the beliefs of others. While not the best effort from 12 yards, it still had the back of the net bulging. Not only did it offer England a vital group stage win, it also settled a score against perennial rivals Argentina!
Twelve months later, Manchester would transfer Beckham to Madrid, the Spanish capital. It has been said that this move broke his father’s heart, as the family were diehard Red Devils fans. It was here that Beckham, with such sartorial elegance (now a global superstar) would become the latest in a string of amazing Galacticos. His magic helped Los Blancos win the La Liga title in 2007.
However, his time in Spain was not as illustrious as some may have hoped, and it may have played a part in his move to America in 2007. Their arrival to the U.S. looked like a typical Hollywood movie premier, both glamorous and extravagant. The Beckhams quickly became America’s sweethearts. Despite his global sex symbol status, Beckham is known to be a fiercely devoted husband and father, and role model to many young men as such. This likely adds to his allure for women around the world- he is truly untouchable.
Beckham was charged with the daunting task of using his skills and celebrity to develop the popularity of soccer (as it’s referred to in America) into a sport of prominence in the United States as much as it is in rest of the world. While progress was slow to start, the impact that he had on the other side of the Atlantic was huge! Playing for the LA Galaxy, he helped them win the MLS Cup in 2011 and 2012.
The arrival of Beckham to the MLS was a real gamechanger. Both in terms of their recruitment strategy and in terms of his cachet, the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa and Kaka all followed. Today, the MLS continues to grow and Beckham even has his own team: Inter Miami CF.
The Leytonstone-born man has made the game chic in America by doing more than being a legendary footballer. He is the epitome of a classy gentleman. Women find his rugged sophistication and chiseled physique as seductive as ever. Even men are drawn to his “it” factor, making him an easy choice for promoting typically masculine products, like whiskey and luxury cars.
David’s style has only become more refined with age… on and off the field. Even though his looks and family life always seem to take precedence in conversation regarding the now 45-year old, his talents on the field will never be forgotten. He has reached an aura and superstar level that few have been able to - in any walk of life. We praise him for always promoting the game we love while doing so in such a classy way, and for promoting the gentlemanly and family values we live by. Join us in celebrating all the reasons we call it the beautiful game.
Be a TENLEGEND.