David Beckham’s best free kicks
David Beckham is a football icon, fondly remembered for his outrageous talent and eclectic mix of hairstyles.
The former Manchester United winger’s free-kick ability was so renowned that he even had a critically acclaimed low-budget film.
Let’s take a look at the best free kicks of Beckham’s esteemed career.
England recorded a 4-0 victory over Mexico in May 2001 and Beckham put the Three Lions in third place with a fabulous free kick from a distance.
Standing 30 yards from goal just left of center, the English number seven sent the ball around the Mexican wall and into the top corner.
After scoring an own goal in the first half of United’s Premier League draw with Blackburn in August 2001, Beckham redeemed himself with a quick free kick taken in the second half to level his side.
It was more unorthodox of Beckham’s part, as he used his quick thinking to grab Brad Friedel out of his line and float the ball over the head of the stranded Blackburn goalkeeper.
United dropped a goal after 11 minutes against West Ham in the Premier League in April 2000. They almost managed to turn the tide and win 7-1.
Beckham scored United’s crucial sixth with an absolute flare, pulling the crossbar and returning to the roof of the net, such was the ferocity of the strike.
United and Barcelona played an epic 3-3 draw in the 1998/99 Champions League group stages.
Having already ceded a 2-0 advantage, Beckham gave United a 3-2 lead by swinging his free kick around the wall and into the upper right corner 25 yards away.
Beckham knocked out the winner just two minutes away from the Manchester derby in November 2000.
Standing 35 yards away, the United winger struck an outrageously accurate free-kick given his distance from goal, with the ball bending around the wall and flying into the corner of the net. Not a bad way to deal with a derby.
Beckham’s last goal for his childhood club came in his last game in a United shirt before leaving for the shining lights of Madrid. And it was a signing free kick to level his side against Everton in May 2003.
Although the set piece was on the right side of the box – seeming to suit a left footer – Beckham produced a free kick with all the unpredictable curve in the world to send the ball into the corner of the net.
Newly joined Real Madrid from United this summer, Beckham scored his first free kick for the Spanish side against Malaga in September 2003.
Standing over the dead ball with Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos – both supporters of a free kick themselves – the England winger handed the ball to Figo, who trapped him before Beckham unleashed a masterful strike virante, leaving Malaga goalkeeper Francesc Arnau – a man who had clearly never seen Play it like Beckham – completely deceived by the sheer deflection on the ball.
United crashed out of the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid in April 2003 despite their breathless 4-3 win at Old Trafford, losing 6-5 on aggregate.
But against the club he would join that summer, Beckham scored a goal he would later describe as his best free kick in a United shirt, folding a bubbly drive past Iker Casillas. The Real keeper stood rooted in place, completely stunned by what he had just witnessed.
Beckham crossed the pond in 2007 and gave LA Galaxy fans a particularly memorable version of his signing in May 2011 to give his team a 4-1 lead over Kansas City.
Despite the sharp angle, with the free kick awarded to the corner of the box, Beckham folded an absolutely spectacular strike into the top corner. Even the American commentator – generally not known as the shy and low key type – was lost for words.
It’s one thing to create a moment of magic when your team is 5-1 against West Ham. It’s another to do the same in the dying minutes of a crucial World Cup qualifier.
The Three Lions needed a draw against Greece in October 2001 to qualify for next summer’s tournament, but were leading 2-1 as the stoppage time approached.
The winger sent a superb free kick 25 yards from goal, hovering around the wall and into the top corner to secure England’s place at the 2002 World Cup. And the rest, as they say, is Of the history.
By that we mean: England suffered a quarter-final exit.