Quotes on: David Beckham

“[ . . . ] I was taken off for David to go on [for his debut, as a substitute against Doncaster]. So I was chuntering on the bench, then he went and scored directly from a corner. I had to shut up then.”
— Paul Raynor
(former Preston player while Beckham spent a month on loan there)

“The goal he scored against Wimbledon, he practiced that in training every single day. Every single day he’d be striking balls from the halfway line towards the goal.”
Gary Neville

“He was extraordinary. When he first came to us he would train morning and afternoon then show up in the evening to join in with the schoolboys. At the start of each season we used to give all the players a bleep test to get a sense of their aerobic fitness, and Beckham was always off the scale. [ . . . ] True winners are relentless. The very best players compete against themselves to become as good as they can be. They have to be dragged off the training ground.”
Sir Alex Ferguson
(in his recent autobiography)

“How can you forget that 60-yard goal? He tried it about 10 minutes before he scored and I said to my assistant Brian Kidd, “If he tries that again, he’s off.”
— Sir Alex Ferguson

“You talk about longevity and in many ways reinventing himself, it has been absolutely incredible. When he went to America there wasn’t a person in this place who really thought he could have a career. Yet he went on and still played for his country, he played for AC Milan in European ties and he played for PSG in European ties, and I don’t think anyone could have imagined that.”
— Sir Alex Ferguson

“The one thing he always had was unbelievable stamina as a kid. He had the best stamina in the club. He could run all day, and that has allowed him to stay in the game at that kind of level, playing for his country in his mid 30s. Coming from American football to do that is quite amazing, and he is an amazing person.”
— Sir Alex Ferguson

“He is a tremendous player and he has contributed so much to the success of Manchester United. He is a world-class performer, so any team would want to accommodate him.”
Zinedine Zidane

“He can’t kick with his left foot, he can’t head, he can’t tackle, and he doesn’t score many goals. Apart from that, he’s alright.”
George Best

“Becks was the true professional, he was probably the best technical player I played with. I used to watch him and watch him. As soon as we’d finished [training], the mannequins would be out and he’d be taking free-kicks, corners and he’d do it for an hour. Every training session he’d give 110 per cent, he would never beat anybody but if you give him a yard, he’ll put in the best balls you’ll ever see. What a player.”
— Paul Ince

“David Beckham is up there with the best passers I’ve ever played with; over a long distance he was ‘radar foot’. Some left footers look beautiful when they pass the ball. His right foot was like that – it even sounded nice when he hit the ball.”
Rio Ferdinand

“His football does not seem to suffer by all of this going on around him. You look at his passing and he makes it look so simple. When he passes the ball, it always seems to go where he wants it to go. That sounds simple, but believe me, it is not.”
— Graham Taylor

“What an unbelievable career he’s had, both on and off the field. I’ve been fortunate to work with some great players and he was one of them. He was a great player. He made the very most of his talents through sheer hard work, professionalism and always doing extra on the training field. He inspired his team-mates through his performances and he was a winner; he has won so many things through his career and that was infectious on his team-mates.”
— Steve McClaren (from Sky Sports)

“He was very competitive and occasionally he went over the mark, but that’s what winners do. He developed, he matured as he went along and he adapted his game, which you have to do playing for 20 years at the top level. He was a specialist in the right midfield position, an unbelievable passer, crosser and could score a range of goals as well. He was an inspiring personality to young players with his behaviour and his professionalism on and off the field. But ultimately he was a leader.”
— Steve McClaren (from Sky Sports)

He is a celebrity and probably the most famous face in sport, but first and foremost he is a footballer and he has continued to be successful on the pitch even after leaving Manchester United, and to finish by winning Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain is a great way to end a fantastic career. You always think of his crossing but he was a better all-round footballer than he was given credit for – I had my doubts when he went to Real Madrid but he proved that he was a proper player in any climate, country or team – while he is a proper gentleman, too; he is very comfortable in the public eye but he has never been brash.”
— Martin Tyler, Sky Sports commentator (from Sky Sports)

“That Wimbleon goal will be a lasting memory for everyone from David. There were so many other spectacular goals, but the impudence he showed, to try it as a young lad at Selhurst Park that day, was impressive.”
— Matt Le Tissier

“He made every single ounce out of all the ability he had. The way he carried on to the age he played to was outstanding. He kept himself in great shape. He was the best set-piece taker I saw in my time. It’s hard for me to admit, but he was probably better than me at set-pieces!”
— Matt Le Tissier

“I was in the England squad when he made his debut against Moldova in 1996 and while his work-rate is phenomenal, I can safely say he’s the best at set-pieces that I’ve seen by a mile. In that 6-3 game, he scored a superb free-kick bent into the top corner even though we had a man on the post. I just thought, “Oh my God.””
— Matt Le Tissier

“He’s been an incredible servant and ambassador to English football. I wouldn’t put him up there with the greatest English players of all time – there have been more talented footballers – but in terms of he’s brought to the English game, both on and off the pitch, he’s been absolutely superb. He kept himself in great shape and to be still playing at the age of 38 is a testament to that. He has been a superb professional.”
— Matt Le Tissier (from Sky Sports)

“His crossing was incredible. I’ve never seen a player more efficient in dead-ball situations: he was able to find someone every time, which is amazing.”
— Robbie Keane

“It was always very difficult (to stop him as a player). At times you had Beckham on one flank and Ryan Giggs on the other. With David you knew he could put a cross in from anywhere.”
— Chris Hughton

Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport
Credit: Shaun Botterill/Allsport

“David is such a great competitor [ . . . ]. My four years working with him is one of the great honors of my life. I found him to be a player with incredible skills on the field as we all know, one of the greatest passers that the game has ever seen. Just a great personality and incredible competitor, who did wonderful things for our club and our game.”
— Bruce Arena, manager of LA Galaxy

“He was a great crosser, a fantastic free-kick taker and his energy up and down the pitch was incredible. People used to say, ‘I’ve got him’ and then he would bend it round you with a fantastic cross for one of the centre-forwards running on to score. You had to watch yourself.”
— Sol Campbell

“I used to train with him when he was around 13 at Tottenham but he always knew where he wanted to go because he used to come in in his Manchester United training kit. It was his dream to play for United. What a player! He had his free-kicks but he was hard-working and had brilliant vision. He deserves everything he has got. He’s a brilliant player but now a brilliant ambassador around the world as well.”
— Sol Campbell

“He had a fantastic work rate, a wand of a right foot, and his set pieces were brilliant. He created many, many of my goals.”
— Michael Owen

“I think he’s been an absolute superstar. Forget about the Beckham brand, he gave every ounce of blood and guts when he was on a football field. Yes, he wasn’t Lionel Messi or in the top 20 most skilful players in the world, but he brought honesty, commitment and style to every team he played for. He’s been a credit to the game. I would have liked him to have been more ruthless with his comments as he took a lot of stick during his career and was never critical, but he’s been a credit to himself and everything he’s represented in football.”
— Charlie Nicholas (from Sky Sports)

“The name David Beckham generates great interest as he is a legend and an icon. He has been a fantastic ambassador for football, not only in England but all around the world; he is a fan’s player and wherever he goes he captures the supporters’ and media’s attention. His legs may have gone lately but he produced some fantastic memories for England and that goal against Greece [to take England into the 2002 World Cup] sends shivers down my spine every time I think about it. He took responsibility as a footballer and is a great role model.”
— Terry Butcher (from Sky Sports)

“The first time I saw him was when he was a teenager and I took my Chelsea side to Old Trafford. You could tell then he was going to the top. He looked different, special. He was better than any other players on the pitch that day and he was just a kid. He loves football, and that’s never left him throughout his career. He loved to train and perform. He would work extremely hard to get the best out of himself.”
— Glenn Hoddle

“He’s done so much for English football, right up until the very end. The greatest thing about David Beckham is his humility. You talk about role models for kids; he is the best example. It’s been a pleasure to have watched him play for England and top clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. He always played with the same passion that he had when he first arrived on the scene.”
— Phil Thompson (from Sky Sports)

“You only have to go on MUTV and watch programmes like ‘Ruud van Nistelrooy: all the goals’, ‘Andy Cole: All the goals’ and so on, and see how many goals they scored came from his crosses. A cross was him is as good as a goal. His crossing was unbelievable. ”
Peter Schmeichel

“He could dribble with the ball, but he didn’t need to dribble with the ball. If you are putting yourself into areas of the pitch where you are still effective, then why do you need to dribble the ball?”
— Nigel Winterburn

“Was I scared of David Beckham’s pace? No. His crossing ability? Yes. You knew you had to get close to him, because he didn’t need to take you on. You’d see, a lot of the times, in attacking areas, that Gary Neville would be in front. So you’d think, ‘well, where is Beckham?’, because he’d drop behind. He knew then he could control the football, he could use his array of passing and could drift into the center of midfield where you couldn’t mark him. But then when he did drift wide, he’d drift wide and drop slightly back, so you were not in contact with him. When the ball came to him, he was whipping those balls in before you made contact with him.”
— Nigel Winterburn

“He was the first of his kind. Everybody played 4-4-2 at the time, but he redefined that position (right-midfielder/winger).”
— Danny Mills

“It was interesting when we used to watch him in training, and how accurate he was (with his free-kicks) time and time again. Eight out of ten free kicks would go virtually in the top corner.”
— Danny Mills

“His work ethic was fantastic. He had fantastic stamina and a great right foot but he was also a super-professional football player, always trying to do his best for the team.”
— Sven-Goran Eriksson
(from The Guardian)

“A great captain for me and an inspiration to everyone. His right foot was, and still is, outstanding, while his crossing and set-pieces were the best I’ve seen. A great person as well.”
— Sven-Goran Eriksson

“As a person, he is amazing. He was shy in the beginning, for the first two months. But after that I really got to know him and we had a fantastic time. Everybody knows him as a footballer. You read a lot about him, you hear a lot about him. When you meet the real person, I have only positive things to say. The person who has negative things to say is either jealous or hates him. Because there are no negative things to say about him – that is my view.”
— Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“As a footballer it is important to be yourself and live your life – not to live in a bubble, not enjoying your life. That is what I admire about Beckham. The attention that follows him, is not easy to live out your life. But he does it. I even told him that I admired him because he brings his children to surfing, to the park. I felt sometimes I would stay at home, because I want to be left alone. But after I saw him, he brought me off the couch and he motivated me to take my family out and do these things. If he can do it, then me, someone with 10% of his attention, can do it.”
— Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“We were looking through his playlist in the dressing room – there was lots of Justin Bieber, Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez. We were expecting some cool English rock bands and hip hop. It is nice to know that even David Beckham doesn’t have good taste in everything.”
— Zlatan Ibrahimovic

“He delivers the ball just where you want it. He makes great contact and whips the ball in. I scored a few goals from his crosses while at Old Trafford.”
— Laurent Blanc

“What remains in your memory is his genuine commitment and dedication, his natural humility which he always had, that will stay forever. You forget sometimes if he has won this championship or that championship, but you never forget how he behaved, and that is a credit to him. ”
— Arsene Wenger

“No one had the right-footed set piece and crossing that David had, and he worked up and down that right hand line for, I don’t even know how many years he played for Man United! There was never a game where you felt, “come on, then, start working.””
— Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

“The best crosser of the ball I have ever seen. You would make a run and he would put the ball into your path without having to break stride. A brilliant footballer.”
Ryan Giggs

“I loved playing with David Beckham – as a striker you know you can make a run and he’ll put in on your head or into space for you.”
Wayne Rooney

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