He could bend the ball into any corner of the net. More than half of the 65 goals David Beckham scored for club and country in his two-decade career came from set pieces. From the strike that guaranteed England’s World Cup spot to the handful of thunderbolts at Manchester United, here’s a list of some of our favorites.
David Beckham, England vs. Greece 2001, WC Qualifiers
One of David Beckham’s best and most important goals came on his old stomping grounds at Old Trafford. With England down 2-1 to Greece, the Three Lions needed a dose of magic. So what better than the bend it aficionado himself to seal the tie with a beauty of a kick to send England to the 2002 World Cup. Glorious.
LA Galaxy vs Kansas City, MLS Cup, 2011
From a nearly impossible angle 30 yards out, Beckham swung in the ball near-post to put the Galaxy up 4-1 over Kansas City in the MLS Cup. The goal was part of his last season in the MLS, a five-year career that saw him win two MLS Cups and two Supporters’ Shield.
Manchester United 4-3 Real Madrid, Champions League QFs April 23, 2003
In what was to be his last season with the Red Devils, Beckham scored a beautiful curler into the top right corner of the net. Iker Casillas barely flinched. Beckham signed for Los Blancos in 2003 where he continued his set-piece magic.
Real Madrid vs. Malaga, 21 September 2003, La Liga
In his first year as a Real Madrid Galactico, David Beckham ripped a shot into the bottom left corner passed the Malaga goalkeeper who could only sit and watch. The powerful placement gave Real fans a taste of what was to come.
Manchester United 3-3 Barcelona, 1998/99 Champions League Group Stage
This particular free-kick raised the roof at Old Trafford as it gave Manchester United the 3-2 lead. The 1998/99 season was arguably David Beckham’s best year at Manchester United. He helped guide the Red Devils to the Treble, including a Champions League trophy, a league victory, and an FA Cup.
Manchester United vs. Liverpool, Premier League 96/97
With his unbeatable right foot, David Beckham sent this free-kick into the top left corner, nicking the bar before bouncing into the net. Goalkeeper David James barely got a move on it.
Manchester United vs. Blackburn 2001
Sometimes it’s less about finesse and more about timing. Beckham took a quick-thinking free-kick against Blackburn to put the ball over Brad Friedel’s head to put the Red Devils up 2-1.
Manchester United vs. Fulham 2001/02
In his 300th appearance for the Red Devils, David Beckham scored his trademark free-kick against Fulham. Beckham’s 60th goal for the club, it had all the bend and pace to become a strike of perfection.
Manchester United vs. Aston Villa 98/99
In a Premier League match against Aston Villa during the 1998/99 season, Beckham wound one up from 30 yards out to send a thunderbolt over the keeper into the top left post.
Manchester United vs. Man City 2000/01
Scoring 90 seconds into the match against Man City, Beckham left the goalkeeper with a whiff of the ball as it whizzed by his gloves. Game, set, match.
Manchester United vs. Everton 02/03
In a Premier League match against Everton, Beckham smashed yet another one with an unpredictable curve into the left-hand corner of the net. The goalie can only gaze at the ball as Becks as Man United’s traveling fans up erupt at Everton.