25 years ago today – David Beckham scored ‘that’ goal

On 17 August 1996, 21-year-old Manchester United midfielder David Beckham made world headlines with a spectacular goal from the halfway line. The moment came in United’s first match of the Premier League season at Wimbledon F.C. By that point, Beckham had been with United for almost four and a half seasons as a professional. He made a total of 42 league appearances. He only established himself as a regular starter during the previous season. It was very successful, with United winning a league and FA Cup double.

David Beckham rose to stardom

Despite being a talented player, Beckham was not yet considered a superstar of the game, and in fact, he had not even earned his first England cap yet. His profile increased dramatically after the match against Wimbledon. With United already leading 0–2, Beckham received the ball inside his own half and took a short dribble towards the halfway line. Just before he arrived, he spotted Wimbledon keeper Neil Sullivan off his line and fired an audacious shot towards goal. As Sullivan ran backwards to reach it, the ball went over his head and into the net. Two weeks later, Beckham made his debut for England.

an illustrious career

Beckham enjoyed an illustrious career at Manchester United, establishing himself as one of the legends to grace Old Trafford. He enjoyed spells at Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. He is one of the graduates of the famous Class of ’92. The England international was a key feature in Sir Alex Ferguson’s line-up. Notably, Beckham was one of the finest set-piece takers of his time.

The goal against Wimbledon made England an international superstar. The goal is arguably one of the greatest goals of the Premier League era. Sir Alex Ferguson, speaking about the David Beckham goal from the midway line, said the midfielder had made a similar attempt 10 minutes earlier and was considering getting it off if he tried again.

Fellow Class of ’92 graduate Gary Neville also applauded Beckham’s long-distance effort. He added that Beckham practiced it every day in training. Beckham himself regards the goal against Wimbledon as his favorite strike. He recognizes this as a pivotal moment in his career. The Man United legend further added that Eric Cantona came up to him to congratulate him for his effort.

United won the league again that season, the second of six league titles Beckham would claim with the club.

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