The world loves David Beckham. Anyone who doubts me should book a flight to Ulan Bator Mongolia and travel to the Gobi desert to ask the local Yak herders where Beckham plays football. They will answer correctly, no doubt, A.C. Milan.
The reasons for this, however, are complex. Yes, he has the god given ability to cross the ball on a corner or set piece better than most. And, of course, there will always be the crowning achievement of the Treble he and his colleagues captured while playing for Man U, back in ’99. But all of that tells only part of the story. There is another Becks. The jet setting glamour model with the pop tart wife (Victoria Beckham. As if that needs saying!) who has become a veritable international commercial juggernaut, the likes of which has never been seen in the football world before. Seeing as, I am not enough of an expert to have an opinion of his footy skills, either way. It is the latter that I take issue with in this column.
Beckham may be gifted on the pitch, but as far as his personal life and style are concerned, he will always be the object of curiosity, if not ridicule. There are the countless endorsements, for every conceivable type of product, no matter how ludicrous (i.e. Pepsi). The constant attempts to live up to his fashion icon status with increasingly daring and bizarre hairstyles and fashion accessories. Living in the UK ( though this could probably be said about the capital of Mongolia, for all I know.) one is struck by the sheer ubiquity of Beckham’s chiseled mug. It’s as though the man doesn’t know the meaning of the word overexposed!
Perhaps most damning is his boring-as-porridge personal life. I’m aware of the lavish parties with P-diddy ( if that is your real name?) and the one-off fling with a woman in a broom closet, or wherever it was! Considering that the man’s international profile is second to none and that he is massively wealthy, you would expect him to be a little more colorful. Maybe buy an island or two, or perhaps an endless series of famous and mysterious babes to keep him on his toes ( a la Mick Jagger!). Instead we find him living in a ginormous McMansion (which the press as dubbed “Beckingham Palace”) as tasteless as any your likely to find in suburban Kirkland. I suppose he and the missus were the inspiration for the deliciously tacky British TV drama Footballer’s Wives, but compared to those fictitious couples, Becks is a bloody choirboy!
Becks may very well make it to South African World Cup ’10. Further, he may be good for the quality of football played at the tournament (though, he will certainly be good for ticket sales). But, at the end of the day, if I’m to choose a football legend whose personal life is inspirational and worthy of my respect, give me a George Best or Pelé any day of the week.