David Beckham

David Beckham: Five things we learned from his Netflix documentary

David BeckhamThe former England captain made 115 appearances for his country and 394 for Manchester United

A new Netflix documentary on David Beckham has given us an insight into the life of one of the most iconic English footballers of all time.

From free-kicks to haircuts, Beckham hit the front and back pages of newspapers, and even inspired a movie title.

The documentary, titled Beckham and jointly made by his production company Studio 99, sees Becks reflect on his rise from Waltham Forest under-12s to become a household name, with contributions from his family, former team-mates and Sir Alex Ferguson.

Here are just a few takeaways.

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Keeping Beckham’s feet on the ground difficult – Ferguson

David Beckham and Alex FergusonBeckham always wanted to play for Manchester United

Beckham joined Manchester United as a trainee in 1991, making his first-team debut the following year before signing his first professional contract in 1993.

But it was in 1996 when he announced himself to the football world by scoring from the halfway line against Wimbledon.

Fame followed, but manager Ferguson had growing concerns about his celebrity lifestyle and his relationship with Spice Girls singer Victoria Adams.

“Getting the attention and becoming a celebrity was different to what I wanted,” Ferguson said. “Getting David to keep his feet on the ground became more difficult.”

Beckham recalled Ferguson going “absolutely mental” at him for choosing a different agent to the one he had suggested.

“He just wanted me to be the best footballer that I could be and to be married to a local girl that wasn’t a superstar,” he said.

As part of the ‘Class of 92,’ Beckham was part of the history-making 1999 treble-winning squad and won six Premier League titles.

He attributes this to the “family” dynamic at Old Trafford and throughout the documentary calls Ferguson a “father figure”.

“The way he was with me from a young age was special,” he said.

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“He was one of the most important people in my life from the age of 12. It was a family and that’s why we had the success that we had.”

Beckham still ‘beats himself up’ about World Cup red card

World Cup moments: Beckham sent off

Beckham says he still “beats himself up” about the red card that he received against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

England ultimately lost the match on penalties, leading Beckham to become public enemy number one.

“I wish there was a pill you could take that could erase some memories,” he said. “I made a stupid mistake and it changed my life.”

“The whole country hated me. Wherever I went, I got abuse every single day. I was a mess.”

Wife Victoria, who was pregnant during the months of the torrent abuse, blames England manager Glenn Hoddle for attributing the loss in his post-match interview to Beckham’s sending-off.

She tells the documentary that Beckham was “clinically depressed and absolutely broken” during this period.

Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville added: “It was inhumane what he had to deal with and it would have broken 99.9% of footballers.”

Beckham’s stitches ‘were stage managed’ – claims kit man

David Beckham with stitches above his eyeFerguson described it as a “freak” accident

The documentary also addresses the infamous dressing room row of 2003 that saw Ferguson kick a boot at the midfielder.

The United boss was furious after an FA Cup loss to Arsenal, with Beckham reflecting: “When you see the boss’ face like this, you don’t want to be anywhere near him”.

A heated verbal exchange between the two occurred when the midfielder answered back to Ferguson and swore at him.

Kit man Albert Morgan says Ferguson went “flying across in a rage” and kicked out at some clothes, which sent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boot into the air and hit Beckham.

“It was an absolute freak [incident],” Ferguson added.

Beckham with photographed with a plaster above his eye following the incident, although Ferguson maintained it was “just a graze” and no stitches were needed.

Morgan added: “I’m not going to talk about that – the only thing I will say is that I think it was stage managed because it wasn’t even worth a stitch.”

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The Madrid nightmare

David BeckhamBeckham won a La Liga title in 2007 before switching to the United States with LA Galaxy

Following speculation of a move to Barcelona, Beckham signed a £24.5m deal with Real Madrid in July 2003.

By now his relationship with Ferguson had turned sour. The two never spoke about his transfer – something Beckham reflects on as a good thing because it “would have broken my heart.”

Soon after his arrival at the Bernabeu, former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz was appointed head coach.

“I never got on with him,” said Beckham.

“I was shocked that I was starting at a new club with a manager who didn’t want me at my last team. It was a different pressure.”

Off the pitch, coverage around a highly-publicised alleged affair affected the family. The couple have always denied claims that Beckham had an affair while in Spain.

Although the couple do not discuss the details of what happened in the documentary, Beckham says the attention was difficult to deal with. Photographers followed the children to school and Victoria admits she “resented” her husband for the “absolute circus” of extra media attention.

“It was the first time that me and Victoria had been put under that kind of pressure in our marriage,” he added.

He just loved being a footballer

Beckham’s decision to retire came sooner than he imagined.

He joined French Ligue 1 side Paris St-Germain in January 2013 but it was a step too far, with Beckham, now aged 38, left feeling like he “had been beaten up” after games.

“I was aching,” he said. “I was hurting. I’d roll out of the bed in the morning because I was in so much pain.”

Beckham announced his retirement four months later and said he “couldn’t breathe or control his emotions” in his last professional game.

“I loved the game more than anyone has ever loved it,” he smiled. “I know it’s not true but I think I loved it more than anyone.”

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