How Good is David Beckham?

I know next to nothing about soccer. Considering all the recent Real Madrid business, can someone compare him to, say, Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods? Or is he not of that caliber in his sport?


Two factors:

  1. Skill as a player. Yes, he’s extremely talented. Maybe as Jordan or Woods.

  2. Glamour. Very well known, good looking, married ex-spice. Sort of like Brad Pitt in the soccer world. His name and the fact that he’s so well known outside the soccer world, is a guarantee that the arena will sell out (well it does, anyway), but more importantly, it’ll increase ratings on tv, meaning more income from advertisers. For the club to sell their club jersey with the letters BECKHAM on the back… They’re gonna make truckloads of € on that.
    I guess he’s comparfable to Jordan in that respect too. Comparing to Woods is not so good, as soccer is a teamsport and the business works in different ways.

I am a great admirer of Beckham’s game. I watched a match recently where Beckham totally dominated the game and probably ran a total of 100 yards while in possession. Most times that he got the ball he took two paces and passed right to the feet of someone in a better position. Often it was hard to figure how he knew where his teammates were such was the speed of his delivery. Conversely when he didn’t have the ball he ran like a maniac chasing down opponents or making position for himself.

However despite these admirable qualities and his freakish free kicks I don’t think he’s in the Tiger Woods class. Tiger Woods is just about perfection in golf terms Beckham has noticable holes in his game. He’s weak on his left and in the air and although a keen defender he is a poor tackler. He doesn’t score as many goals in open play as you’d hope because his lack of pace makes it hard for him to beat his marker.

Mind you I think he’s going to have an absolute ball at Real. I think he’s going to slot right in with players who can play to his vision.

Most Americans don’t know who he is. I certainly didn’t until recently.

I remember I saw his picture on the front page of USA Today (or the New York Times) in one of those news vending machine things with the headline “This is the most famous athlete in the world” and I picked up on the irony in it. I didn’t get his name though and went several weeks wondering who that guy was. Lately I’ve been reading about a lot of hoopla around him on Yahoo! and I just figured that must’ve been him.


Perspective, man.

In addition to all his talent, he is, perhaps the most marketable player in football at the moment.

Jordan dominated the game offensively, scoring anytime and anywhere he wanted to. He is/was the king of basketball. Beckham doesn’t do much scoring since he’s more of a playmaker (midfielder). So they dominate in different ways, but I certainly wouldn’t say that Beckham is the Jordan of football.

imho he a good player, but not great. He can cross a ball and take free kicks better than pretty much anyone else in the game, but he can’t dominate a game in the way that Michael Jordan used to, or Zenadine Zidane does.

My feeling is Real Madrid bought him primarily to crack the lucrative Asia merchandising market. 25 million is a drop in the ocean compared to the potential for selling shirts and other merchandise in China, Japan and so on.

I think he will probably start maybe half of the Real Madrid games next season as he just isn’t good enough to unseat Zidane, Figo, Ronaldo, Raul et. al.

He is right up there with the best players in the world and IMO is the best crosser of the ball, the best free kick taker and probably the most accurate hitter of the ball of all time. He does have good on the ball skills but not as good as Zinedane Zidane or Ronaldo, however I would say that he is better than Figo and therefore best player in the world in his position. He won’t be competing with Zidane, Ronaldo or Raul for as Zidane plays in the centre of midfield (though Beckham can play there too, it would be a waste of his crossing abilties to put him there) and Ronaldo and Raul play up front.

Also you have to remebr there are alot more players of soccer in the world than there are players of basketball and golf, it would be virtually impossible for a single player to dominate soccer in the way Micheal Jordan dominated basketball.

He is an awesome player. One of the things football fans in England rave about him for is his strike: the ball bends in a long arc. I saw something on TV about how scientists at a university in northern England are studying his form.

Real Madrid is going to be unstoppable in FIFA next season. Such a depth of talent. Zidane, Beckham and Ronaldo on the same team. The three best players of the day. Unbelievable.

Hence the title of the movie Bend it like Beckham.

Aside from his superb ball skills, he has the best attitude of any english player. Apart from his professionalism, which is unmatched, he has an attitude to win.

Probably the best example was the qualifier for the world cup against greece, when the entire england team put in a very uninspired performance. Beckham on the other hand, ran around the pitch like a man possessed. It seemed like he was passing to himself sometimes. He earned a free kick near the oppositions goal with a couple of minutes to go, and converted into a goal himself. As a result, England drew and went to the last world cup.

The other thing about beckham is he is an excellent role model for the young-uns. He was sent off in the French world cup, but seemed to learn his lesson. Since then he has always been on to calm down situations on the pitch. He is never in trouble for drinking and partying all night (unlike many footballers). he is happily married and a devoted family man, despite the fact that he is one of the most lusted after men on the planet.

As a United fan (I can currently see Old Trafford through my office window), I am very sad to see him go. Best of luck becks!!

My wife is in Malwai (Near Mozambique) right now. I was talking to her yesterday on the phone and she was asking me “who is this Beckham guy everybody is talking about?”

He can’t be any good then can he? :rolleyes:

As some others have said, no single football player could be compared to Michael Jordan, but in terms of general recognition for playing ability Ronaldo (of Real Madrid and Brazil) and Zinedine Zidane* (of Real Madrid and France) would both be rated higher than David Beckham. Beckham does a couple of important things supremely well, but he doesn’t dominate a game the way Zidane can and hasn’t achieved the scale of individual success as Ronaldo – UEFA European Player of the Year two times, FIFA World Player of the Year three times (Beckham hasn’t won either award).

All the recent fuss about Beckham is more to do with his marketability, the fact that he is a big star in the Far East as well as Europe and the fcat that the British tabloids are obsessed with him.
*Correct spelling.

“Aside from his superb ball skills, he has the best attitude of any english player.”

Perhaps now, but what about the '98 World Cup sending-off against Argentina?
It arguably cost England the game, having to play one man down in a very close game.

Originally posted by schplebordnik
Perhaps now, but what about the '98 World Cup sending-off against Argentina?


Isn’t this what I said? Beckham suffered a HUGE amount of abuse as a result of this. I remember seeing people hanging effigies of him, and threatening his wife and kids with death every time he played. Typical english football hooligan scum. Beckham could have refused to play for england ever again and I wouldn’t have blamed him.

Fortunately Becks ignored all this and went on to establish himself as a true football hero. His attitude is now pretty much perfect. I don’t know if I could have reacted the same way.

He’s a damn good passer…or uh, that’s what I hear at the pub.

I am sorry but most of what has been written above about Beckham’s footballing skills is absolute nonsense (I will not comment on the cult of personality surrounding him).

Beckham plays as an out and out winger (as oppossed to his supposedly more natural position of central midfield, more on that later) so we should analyze his success in this position.

Pros: Great striker of the ball, lethal free kick, decent first touch.

Cons: No pace. Beckham isn’t particularly fast which is a fairly important requirement for a winger. This directly impedes his ability to whip in the crosses everyone talks about. He also isn’t very good at beating his man one-on-one which again is a very important trait for a winger (compare him to Giggs or Duff for example).

Beckham is a very poor tackler and ball winner (he would have no chance in the middle of the field and any suggestion to the contrary isn’t supported by the facts). This is important because of the over-lapping fullback style endorsed by most major teams require the wingers to drop back or drift into the middle on occassion as a defensive bulwark. If you can’t tackle then it is hard to play this position (witness Beckham’s pulling out of a tackle in the 1/4 final of the WC that led to Brazil’s equalizer).

He is not good in the air which is more important for 50/50 midfield balls and dominance of the game.

Beckham scored 6 goals last year which is a paltry return for his type of player. He was replaced by the very effective Ole Gunnar Solkjaser in the CL and the end game of the Premiership. To compare Beckhame with some of football’s greats such as Best, Pele, Maradonna, Cryuff etc. is simply wrong. Indeed, Beckham isn’t even the best player at Manchester United. I would put Keane, Giggs and Van Nistellroy well ahead of him.

In sum, Beckham is a decent player but a better clothes horse. If you want to see great English talent then look at Michael Owen who is sheer class.

Regarding Beckham as the most famous athlete in the world, where exactly is he famous?

I’d say all of Western Europe and the Far East, but what about the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America, Australasia, and so on? Is it just in the US he’s less well known?

I have a massive girlie admiration for Becks. He is so pretty and tall and nice-looking and his charisma is enormous. No wonder artists have mocked him up as some kind of god. And his whole metrosexual style, and the shocking difference between his manly figure and his weedy voice, is very interesting. He should be a star.

Middle East: Yes (plenty of evidence from vox pops after Iraq war for instance).
Eastern Europe: Yes, insofar as any English player is.
South America: They prefer local and Spanish/Portuguese speaking players, but he’s very well known.
Australasia: Yes, among football fans.

You could add Anglophone Africa to that list. Plenty of evidence from England’s recent trip to South Africa. Anywhere in the world where English footballers are known at all, Beckham is the most recognisable. There are other non-English players that are also very widely known, however.