David Beckham is one of the most legendary figures in sports history. He brings more than the full package to the table, containing all the characteristics a simple soccer fan like me yearns for.
His presence can be felt by ladies hundreds of miles away. His personality leaves television stations desperate for an interview any chance they get.
Finally, his precision and swagger with a soccer ball at his feet inspires kids to shoot 25-yard free kicks before they even learn how to walk. With no offense to Mr. Dos Equis, he is the most interesting man in the world.
All of his characteristics made me stay thirsty for the 2011 MLS All-Star game, as it was a perfect opportunity to compare Beckham with his younger Manchester United reflections.
However, I must say my expectations were not sky-high coming into the game. After all, in the previous four MLS seasons, Beckham had made just one All-Star appearance and in the past had made a habit of getting injured in meaningless games or friendlies.
This being said, I expected nothing more than a 30-45 minute cautious cameo for the fragile figure.
Fortunately, I got a lot more than that.
Beckham put on a show for the full 90 minutes, constantly sending beautiful balls over the top to the strikers or having a go himself from distance. He wore the captain’s armband, ran back on defense, sent in dangerous corners, all to my and Manchester United’s surprise.
He played harder than I have ever seen Beckham play since arriving in the US and all for one reason: to represent England one more time.
It was quite easy to discover Beckham’s unprecedented motivation for this friendly when you realize the situation. After a few years of discouraging football over the Atlantic, Beckham finally had the chance to prove his worth on the biggest stage against the biggest English team.
To him, this game wasn’t the ordinary “Bend in a few kicks and leave” type friendly. This was a primetime game to showcase his talents and confirm that an England call up had just as much relevance now as it did 10 years ago.
He completed the most passes, covered the most ground, and was the most dangerous man on the pitch for most of Wednesday night. The 2011 MLS All-Star game, was more than just a game for the most interesting man in the world.
With Beckham’s MLS contract done at the end of the 2011 season, last night could have been the start of a new chapter for the English legend: A chapter that contains the revival of a global superstar on the International stage.
If one thing is for sure, it is that Beckham would play harder than any other current English international if he were given one more chance by Fabio Capello.
So here is my advice for the day, Mr. Capello: Don’t judge a book by its cover, judge it by its ink. And man, does David Beckham have more than enough ink to make it worth your while.