David Beckham’s ability as a footballer was special and his free-kicks demonstrated that more than anything else. The phrase “Bend it like Beckham” is still used whenever someone is ready to take a free-kick. From the playground to the Premier League hitting the ball as sweetly as Beckham was the dream of many. In this article, we will look at five of the finest free-kicks by David Beckham.
#5 Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool, 12/10/1996
As a United player, scoring a goal against Liverpool is the stuff of dreams. Beckham did so in style to give his team a hard fought 1-0 victory. In the 23rd minute an United player was fouled on the right edge of the penalty area. Usually left footers takes these free-kicks as it enables them to curl the ball to left corner. But a young Beckham struck the ball so sweetly, like an outswinging cross, to score a terrific yet unusual goal. In his illustrious career, Beckham would go on to score many such free-kicks and it became a trademark.
#4 Malaga 1-3 Real Madrid, 21/09/2003
Beckham’s first goal for Real Madrid after his transfer from United in the summer of 2003 was so typical of him. Ronaldo opened the scoring for Madrid in the 12th minute and Beckham doubled the lead in the second half. It is one of the finest free-kicks by David Beckham due to a small improvisation he made before striking the ball.
Beckham was quick to notice that the wall was perfectly in place to prevent the free-kick. Hence, he rolled the ball to Luis Figo who was standing near Beckham as a decoy. In his trademark inimitable fashion he struck the ball to the the right of the goalkeeper ever so sweetly.
#3 Manchester United 3-3 Barcelona, 16/09/1998
Manchester United’s opening game of the 98/99 UCL season against Barcelona was unforgettable because of Beckham’s effort and a controversial red card. United blew a two goal lead in the second half and in the 64th minute they were awarded a free-kick far from the box. Beckham wonderfully curled the ball into the top left corner to the astonishment of the crowd at Old Trafford. This hit is special because it did not come from the usual right wing position from which Beckham scores regularly.
#2 Manchester United 4-3 Real Madrid, 23/04/2003
This is a game best remembered for Ronaldo Nazario’s brilliant hat-trick and the standing ovation he received from the Old Trafford faithful. United had lost the first leg 3-1 and were trailing 3-2 in the second leg at Old Trafford when Beckham stood over a free-kick in the 71st minute. The ball was right in the area he likes but beating Casillas from range was never simple. But Casillas stood like a statue as Beckham’s thunderbolt of a free-kick beat him to his left and thudded into the roof of the net. This outstanding effort did not stop Real Madrid from progressing and Beckham would eventually join them in the summer.
#1 England 2-2 Greece, 06/10/2001
Among the finest free-kicks by David Beckham, this goal at Wembley is by far the most famous. England’s world cup qualification was at stake and when Greece took the lead an entire nation went into depression. However, their captain and hero emerged from the shadows to score a ridiculous free-kick to send his nation to the World Cup. The ball was right in the middle of the pitch and Beckham bend it into the top corner with such power and precision. It was redemption for Beckham as he was framed as the villain after his red card against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.