Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for news and soccer TV schedules »

MON, 7:30PM ET

David Beckham Retires; Why He’ll Be Remembered More For His Brand Than His Soccer Career

david beckham David Beckham Retires; Why Hell Be Remembered More For His Brand Than His Soccer Career

Not to be outdone by Sir Alex Ferguson or Paul Scholes, David Beckham announced his retirement from soccer today — the third Manchester United legend to “hang up his boots” in just one week.

David Beckham was the first modern-day footballer, a man who was gifted enough on the pitch to hit the heights of the international and world stage. But later in his career, he ended up being more influential and powerful off the pitch with his world-class business skills, charm, PR skills, good looks and professionalism that turned him into the most highly sought-after English-speaking athlete on the planet.

His shirt sales alone for clubs such as Paris Saint Germain, AC Milan, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid and Manchester United were jaw-dropping, reportedly raising £1 billion in shirt and boot sales throughout his career. Plus, his charity work was exemplary.

That’s not to take anything away from his performances on the pitch. While he’s nowhere near the top echelon of world footballers in the history of the game, David Beckham is arguably the best English footballer since Bobby Moore. While he wasn’t able to win a World Cup or European Championship for England, Beckham evolved his soccer skills during his career to become one of the best, if not the best ever, set-piece taker — whether it was from corners, free kicks or even non-set pieces such as inch-perfect crosses into the box. To me, that was his best asset. His perfection, as a result of thousands of hours of practice, was unrivaled.

While at Manchester United, he won 6 Premier League medals, 2 FA Cup trophies and 1 Champions League title. When he joined Real Madrid in 2003, David Beckham expanded his brand to an even more international audience where, despite a rocky career in Spain, he helped the club lift a La Liga trophy in his first of four seasons and significantly increased their merchandise sales.

In 2007, Beckham made the risky career move of joining Major League Soccer. His six years at LA Galaxy dramatically elevated the visibility of the league worldwide and initially increased ticket sales wherever Beckham played, but his impact on the American soccer scene has long been exaggerated. He certainly had an impact, but there is still a bitter taste among many soccer fans in America who felt that he, at times, placed more of a priority on loan appearances with AC Milan as well as ambassadorial work for the London Olympics and England World Cup bids over his playing career at the Galaxy.

Where he cannot be faulted is his patriotism and loyalty to the England national team, which — to me — was the one part of his career other than his early days at Manchester United where he continually put his priority on football first. His 115 caps for England set a record for the most number of caps for an outfield player. The only reservation was that he was unable to break the all-time record of 125 caps, held by goalkeeper Peter Shilton.

The 38-year-old midfielder played his final season of soccer with Paris Saint-Germain, where he helped the club lift the Ligue 1 title.

Beckham should be congratulated on his fantastic career as a footballer (Beckham was the first Englishman to win league titles in four different countries — England, Spain, USA and France. His achievements were impressive. However, his off-the-field accomplishments were even greater. And he still has a very bright future ahead of him

This entry was posted in David Beckham, Leagues: EPL, Manchester United. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

14 Responses to David Beckham Retires; Why He’ll Be Remembered More For His Brand Than His Soccer Career

  1. Mufc77 says:

    I wouldn’t put him in the legend category as far as ex Utd players go but defiantly not far of it.

  2. Guy says:

    If Becks were a U.S. citizen he’d be sliding right into politics, with a Senate seat not out of the question. :-)

    • Becks should have a U.S. green card, having worked in the U.S. for over 3 years.

      I would not be surprised if Becks were to run for Governor of the State of California sometime in the future, given the history of that office.

  3. Smokey Bacon says:

    Agree with all if the above. His next move will be interesting. Is it back to LA and a franchise?

  4. San Franciscan says:

    Scored lots of important goals for United and England. A very important player in the historic ’99 season where he scored on the final day against Spurs plus his 2 corners that converted into goals in Barcelona.

  5. Mufc77 says:

    He could have secured legend status amongst Utd fans if he openly supported the Glaziers out campaign when he picked up that green & gold scarf after the champions league game with AC Milan at old trafford . Instead he decided to not take sides.

  6. Marc says:

    Since the Green and Gold campain has died off I would love Sir Alex and David Gill to come out and criticize the Glazers. That would kick start the campaign all over again.

    • The Gaffer says:

      With the success that the Glazers have achieved on and off the pitch, the green and gold campaign is long dead.

      The Gaffer

      • Mufc77 says:

        I agree gaffer and the fact that SAF is still part of the club as a ambassador means he still won’t get involved.

        It will be Interesting to see how the Glaziers react now that he’s retired. I’ve always thought once he stepped down it would be the beginning of the end for the owners.

        • Taylor says:

          Not if Moyes can win consistently.
          The Glazers will be in trouble if Moyes doesn’t start winning and the club doesn’t buy quality players.
          If Moyes doesn’t win despite the club buying quality players, the owners will be safe.

  7. sucka99 says:

    didn’t Becks not win La Liga until his last season there?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>