David Beckham's World Football Legacy Will Never Be Matched

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMay 18, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 06:  David Beckham of the Galaxy warms up before the friendly match between the Melbourne Victory and LA Galaxy at Etihad Stadium on December 6, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

David Beckham signed his first contract with Manchester United before I was even born. He was scoring goals like this while I was just beginning primary school.

So for me, the name and thought of Beckham has been inextricably mixed with world football for as long as I have known the great game.

And while many who witnessed the greats before my time such as Diego Maradona, Pele, Sir Bobby Charlton and so many more may attest otherwise, I don't think football will ever be subject to such an impact as what it received from Beckham.

As USA Today writes, "he came, he sold, he conquered."

That was simply what Beckham did. 

He came, to seemingly every corner of the footballing world; he sold, in a marketable way that few athletes have managed to capture sense; and he conquered, with a long list of trophies from every club that he featured at in his illustrious career.

And whilst the world of football will certainly have its stars and legends of the game in years to come, none will ever be able to rival the impact and legacy of Beckham.

Take the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, for example.

Both are brilliant players who will go down in the history of the game as true legends. Both are also extremely marketable athletes as a result of their success, but it would be hard to say that they have had anywhere near the impact and success that Beckham has had in his career.

Messi has not won a title outside of Barcelona. Ronaldo has won in the Premier League also, but even then, he's won just four league titles and one Champions League trophy across his time at both Manchester United and Real Madrid. Which, compared to Beckham, simply doesn't even come close.

Beckham has won in England, Spain, France and the United States.

In England, he was perhaps the biggest reason behind Manchester United's emergence as a world footballing powerhouse once more under Sir Alex Ferguson.

In Spain, he helped Madrid win their first title in four years, which, for a club with the rich history and success like Los Blancos, must have felt like an eternity.

In France, he guided Paris Saint Germain to their first league title in 19 years, and helped them make the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League—an achievement that the likes of Chelsea and both Manchester clubs didn't manage to do.

And in the United States, not only did he twice win the MLS Cup and the MLS Supporters Shield, he basically built the appeal of soccer in an unfamiliar environment.

No player will ever have such a wide-reaching legacy ever again.

Players will become legends at their clubs and guys like Zlatan Ibrahimovic might win titles at many different clubs throughout their careers, but they won't ever be able to have the same impact as Beckham. For not only did he build an entire club into one of the most-followed clubs in world football, he made an unpopular sport "cool" once more in an entire country.

And whilst his treble-winning season and stunning free-kicks might seem like the highlights of his career, it is that legacy that is the greatest achievement of them all.


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