David Beckham is a football icon, fondly remembered for his scandalous skills and eclectic combination of hairstyles.
The ability of the former Manchester United winger to free kick was so well known that there was even a low-budget film named after him.
Let’s take a look at the best free kicks from Beckham’s respected career.
England recorded a 4-0 victory over Mexico in May 2001, and Beckham finished third in the Three Lions with an incredible free-kick performance.
Standing 30 yards from the door just to the left of center, England’s No. 7 sent the ball around the wall of Mexico 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 from the second half to level his side.
This was more unorthodox than Beckham, as he used his quick thinking to catch Brad Friedel from his line and slide the ball over the head of the blocked Blackburn goalkeeper.
United fell with a goal after 11 minutes against West Ham in the Premier League in April 2000. They just managed to turn it around, continuing to win 7-1.
Beckham slammed United’s deciding sixth with an absolute rocket, topping the crossbar and back into the roof of the net, such was the ferocity of the strike.
United and Barcelona drew an epic 3-3 draw in the group stages of the 1998/99 Champions League.
Already giving a 2-0 lead, Beckham gave United a 3-2 lead, turning his free kick around the wall and in the top right corner of 25 yards.
Beckham hit the winner just two minutes after the Manchester derby in November 2000.
Straightening a good 35 yards, the United winger took a harmless free kick with incredible accuracy given his distance from the goal, the ball bent around the wall and flew into the corner of the net. Not a bad way to settle the derby.
Beckham’s last goal for his boys’ club came in his last game with a United shirt before he left for the bright lights of Madrid. A free kick was guaranteed to level the sidelines against Everton in May 2003.
Despite the position on the right side of the penalty area – which appears to correspond to the left foot – Beckham took a free kick with the entire unpredictable curve in the world to send the ball into the far corner of the net.
Fresh from joining Real Madrid for United in the 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 partly from a free kick, the England winger placed the ball to Figo, who trapped it before Beckham made a masterful wing shot, leaving Malaga goalkeeper Francesco Arnau – a man who there was a clear never seen Bend it like Beckham – completely deceived by the vertical deflection of the ball.
United crashed in the quarterfinals of the Champions League against Real Madrid in April 2003 despite their suffocating 4-3 victory at Old Trafford, losing a total of 6-5.
But against the club he would join this summer, Beckham scored what he would later describe as his best free kick in a United shirt, bending a hissing drive past Iker Casillas. The Real goalkeeper stood rooted in place, completely dumbfounded by what he had just witnessed.
Beckham traveled across the lake in 2007 and treated LA Galaxy fans with a particularly memorable version of his signature in May 2011 to give his country a 4-1 lead over Kansas City.
Despite the sharp angle, with a free kick taken in the corner of the penalty area, Beckham struck an absolutely spectacular shot in the upper corner. Even the American commentator – who is not usually known as the shy and withdrawn type – was lost in words.
It’s one thing to invent a magical moment when your side is 5-1 against West Ham. It’s another thing 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 the tournament next summer, but were 2-1 behind.
The winger sent a stunning free kick 25 yards from the door, towering around the wall and in the top corner to reserve England’s place in the 2002 World Cup. And the rest, as they say, is history.
By which we mean: England suffered a quarter final exit.