At one time, David Beckham was perhaps the most overrated soccer player in the world. Today, he’s underrated. During last summer’s World Cup, I noted that nearly every goal England scored in the preliminary matches came one way or the other off of Beckham’s right foot. Several readers emailed to insist that Beckham was one-dimensional and that his great ball delivery is merely what’s expected of a high-paid professional. But in the Round of 16 victory over Ecuador, it was once again only Beckham who produced a goal for either side.
After the World Cup, England’s new manager dropped Beckham. It’s probably no coincidence that England has failed to score in three of its last matches, including a dire 0-0 draw at home against Macedonia.
Real Madrid, a team with more stars in its attack than England, also announced that it had no place for Beckham. This led to Beckham’s high profile decision to play in the United States next season. But like England, Real Madrid began to struggle and several of its key players called for Beckham to be re-inserted into the starting 11.
Manager Fabio Capello finally obliged last weekend. The result? A 2-1 win in which Beckham scored one goal with a trademark free kick and helped set up the other for his former Manchester United teammate Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Beckham can still get it done, and Europe’s loss is America’s gain.
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