Goal.com Comment: David Beckham Milestones - A Photo Album

Goal.com's Ewan Macdonald looks back at some of David Beckham's career milestones in light of his achieving 109 England caps on Saturday...

David Beckham is now England's most-capped outfield player. By lining up against Slovakia at Wembley on March 28, the AC Milan ace made it 109 appearances in the Three Lions' shirt, one more than 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Moore.

He remains some way short of the overall reckon of 125 caps, held by goalkeeper Peter Shilton, but with a career in which hitting milestones and establishing records seems to be par for the course, could the former Manchester United hero one day gain this accolade, too?


Champions League Debut Goal | Beckham and Eric Cantona celebrate the youngster's strike against Galatasaray, 1994
Certainly his penchant for breaking new ground started early. It's true, his very earliest days in the first team - in the League Cup - were inauspicious. Yet it was clear that he was destined for the big time, having already won the FA Youth Cup with the cantera.

But later on, still as a fresh-faced teenager Beckham made his Champions League debut, playing against Galatasaray. Although the 1994-95 season was to be disappointing for the Red Devils, his debut goal at Old Trafford was a sign of things to come.

Towards the end of that domestic campaign he finally enjoyed some Premier League action and, in doing so, began to stake his claim for what many still regard as one of the most incredible domestic seasons of all-time.


FA Cup Winner | Beckham clashes with Robbie Fowler as
Eric Cantona looks on, 1996

Yes, it was 1995-96, the year that Fergie's Fledglings confounded the pundits by proving that you can, in fact, win silverware with 'kids'. Two pieces, in fact: United re-took the Premier League from Blackburn Rovers, and also lifted the FA Cup by defeating Liverpool. Beckham, along with other youngsters like Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, was integral to both.

England Debut | Floppy-haired Becks against Moldova, 1996

The Red Devils' next few seasons were mixed, but Beckham himself was on what seemed to be an irreversible upward climb.
International recognition came with the senior England team in September 1996, just a few short months after that domestic double; a debut against minnows Moldova set the stage for what was admittedly to be an up-and-down Three Lions career. Indeed, his red card in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina had him booed in stadiums the length and breadth of the country as his reputation as a wide boy, perhaps unfairly, came to the fore.

Nonetheless he remained involved in the international scene under a host of coaches, mostly due to eye-catching domestic form. Domestic - but also European.

It's worth remembering that, although they were regarded as European giants, Manchester United had as of 1998 won the European Cup just once, back in 1968. It was time to set that right.


Champions League Winner | Beckham hoists the trophy aloft, 1999

In 1999 came not just the double, but the Treble, Beckham and company lifting the Champions League trophy after defeating Bayern Munich in a thrilling final in which Becks played in an unusual central position but still chipped in with some excellent dead-ball deliveries.

Only just missing out on the top global individual awards, it seemed as though Beckham could only rise further. But in fact injuries, poor form, and fallings-out with coach Sir Alex Ferguson saw his Manchester United career draw to a close.

Off he went to Real Madrid for a massive fee - one befitting his status - for a rollercoaster four-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu. His highlights included scoring three minutes into his debut, some thrilling play alongside fellow Galactico Zinedine Zidane, and his idol status with the fans; poor squad form and a distinct lack of silverware, though - barring the 2007 Liga title - meant that his spell in Spain was not all that it could have been.


Galactico | Beckham lines up with Zizou, 2003; wins La Liga, 2007

But that one Liga trophy... Beckham had initially been frozen out of the squad by the president, Ramon Calderon, along with coach Fabio Capello and sporting director Pedja Mijatovic, after he signed a pre-contract with Los Angeles Galaxy in early 2007. But in fact he was given a reprieve during the run-in, wherein he was to repay Capello's faith with a series of matchwinning performances.

Still, his time at Madrid had come to an end, and it was off to Los Angeles.



First MLS Superstar | Beckham becomes US soccer's most famous name since the 80s, 2007
Befitting his celebrity status - he was, after all, a knight of the realm in Britain and a household name across Europe - Beckham was feted as the MLS' first true banner signing.

That's not to say he was the first big name in the nascent league, but it is undeniable that not before - or since - had there been a player of such massive reputation and character; one who at the time could have (and in fact had) graced any of the world's top competitions and, far from looking out place, be considered essential.

Amidst much cynicism Beckham argued that he was no mere sideshow and that his move was football related, not commercial. The media (and merchandising) furore that tracked his every move suggested somewhat differently, and though he was at times to prove his worth with good performances he spent much of his time on the treatment table.

Eventually came a loan move back to Europe with AC Milan, where he apparently wishes to stay. But Beckham has also managed an international recall after time in limbo under Steve McClaren. That brings us to today - or, more accurately, to Saturday, when Beckham made appearance number 109 in an England shirt.

How many more to come?


#109 | Beckham breaks the England outfield appearance record, 2009

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