BY GEORGE KAGAME
As you read Real Madrid are the crowned Spanish La liga champions thanks to the infamous “black brief case” theory. And to an extent a group of players who had a point to prove to a sceptical world.
First among them is David Beckham, a man that has not only made sports become likable with the white collars in corporate offices and also petite Hollywood cuties too. For every team Beckham has played for, the failures of that team have been squarely placed on him. England being the biggest of the failures, and most recently Real Madrid. Used and discarded by England, Manchester United and finally Real Madrid, Beckham the footballer has seen the highest taste of success, glamour and elegance, while at the same time he has not been spared the worst possible humiliation of failure, defeat and prejudiced judgement.
For many coaches and fans alike, the man was judged to be a pop idol, while for many coaches he was an excuse for the general poor performance of the teams he played for, especially Sven Erickson’s England. But in many desperate times, Beckham has come out to save England, like during the match against Greece, the last one to qualify for Euro 2004, the English had tried everything and failed and only Beckham’s free kick in the last minute of the game ensured the “Three Lions” passage to Portugal.
David Beckham, the most famous footballer in the world has forced arrogant England, Real Madrid and many doubting fans to swallow the humble pie and understand that his popularity is not just because he married Vicky Spice but also because he has knows his trade too well.
Two influential managers made very bold statements while dropping Beckham earlier in the season, Capello in Madrid is the all powerful and mechanical dictator, he dropped Beckham and forced the Englishman seek a fortune with the Los Angeles Galaxy . Then Capello had to watch in amazement and wonder as Beckham saved his job and that of Real president Ramon Calderon. So much can be said of Steven McClaren and his pop England national team.
Critics of this sporting icon are rarely far away and there will be many who view his England return as little more than a boost to the ‘Brand Beckham Inc’ publicity machine he is purported to front. However, such claims have been rubbished as he has proved himself to be a sportsman with real character in the last few months. As fans in England, Spain and even here in Africa rue letting the face of modern football leave soccer mad Europe, to a budding soccer nation waiting for Beckham and his charts topping wife.
When the managers of both Real Madrid and England decided they could do without a figure who has long divided public opinion, it would have been easy for golden balls to take the easy route and prepare for a wealthy semi-retirement with Los Angels Galaxy this summer. Instead, he defied those who doubted him, forced his way back into the plans of Capello and McClaren and even if his international return is brief, he must feel it was worth it for the reception he received from fans at the Cathedral (Bernabeu) and Wembley.
Madrid are hesitant at their decision to let him go so easily and, apparently, if necessary, there is a clause within his existing contract that would allow club president Ramon Calderon to renew the once-bitter battle for his signature. Meanwhile, Major League Soccer, Los Angeles Galaxy, and some would say American soccer; wait impatiently for his arrival while unveiling price-efficient ticket packages, a string of friendlies and cultivating an already existing adoration for the Beckhams.
Many pundits would say Beckham is lucky to be playing for Real now when the club is very hungry for success as a team. But, as great sportsmen say, sometimes you make your own luck. And with graft, craft and relentless desire, no one can deny it is his own work rather than good fortune that has brought David Beckham to the verge of possibly his greatest triumph next to 1999. And now he is going to swap the Beautiful Game for the beautiful people. And who said the world is starved of wonders!