David Beckham’s latest injury—rupturing an Achilles’ heel on March 14 while playing for A.C. Milan—leaves him looking less like the global superstar he once was, and more like an athlete whose best days may never be regained.
If Beckham were not hurt, it’s likely that England’s national soccer club would have added him to its roster, which would have given him the chance to become one of the few British-born players to participate in four consecutive World Cups.
Alas, he won’t be joining his fellow Britons in South Africa this June into July. He'll be recovering from surgery.
Sadly, an injury like his is hard to recover from (trust me, I’ve had my own sports injuries). Sidelined for a long period, Beckham appears more and more like a player riding on his good looks and fame.
That, and he just seems so soft. Recently it seems that the likelihood of his getting hurt just by tying his shoelaces, sneezing into Kleenex, or opening his tiny, effeminate mouth is pretty damn high.
Since the 2002 film "Bend It Like Beckham" debuted, the object of that cinematic obsession seems more like a myth than a legend.
Before the movie, Becks was the talk of England and known throughout the world, winning the hearts of many as one of Manchester United’s best in the 1990s and 2000s—No. 7, the internationally renowned right midfielder with the deft boot good enough to curve even blades of grass for goals into the net.
He won ESPY awards, almost won FIFA’s player of the year award two or three times, and won English Premier League, FA Cup, and Spanish La Liga titles with regularity.
He even made time to get married to a Spice Girl. A Spice Girl! (At the time, that news really mattered in pop culture.)
However, "Bend It" has been a bane, a curse for him over the past nine years, to the point that even the actresses who starred in the film, Keira Knightley ("Pirates of the Caribbean" series) and Parminder Nagra ("E.R."), have made more strides in their careers than Becks!
Don't believe me? Well, let's take a look at two sad Beckham facts from the years since that movie premiered:
- Beckham was forced to give up his six-year term as captain not too long after he and England failed to bring home the 2006 World Cup, thus keeping the country that invented soccer in an embarrassing 44-year drought since winning it all in 1966.
- He also failed to bring more popularity to Major League Soccer in America—remember him on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" and "ESPN the Magazine?"—as he predicted he would do after joining the L.A. Galaxy in 2007. The Galaxy has gone to the playoffs with Becks once, and lost to the Houston Dynamo in the MLS finals in 2009.
Yes, he may still have Posh, his three sons, his various tattoos, and endorsement deals as his “trophies,” if you will.
But he will turn 35—an old man in contemporary sports standards—in May. By this summer, women all over the world will be salivating for someone younger, more successful, and more worthy of their time, like Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Brazil’s Kaka.
Sorry, but as of now, you’re (milque)toast, Becks. Toodles.