David Beckham is a football icon. And now, thanks to a Netflix documentary, his storied career is being reevaluated. We all now about Beckham playing for the likes of Manchester United or Real Madrid. But would you want him on your fantasy football team if he was still playing today?
I’ve looked at the former England skipper’s stats and the data available on FootballCoin. Here’s how I think Beckham might do today.
Early Manchester United years
David Beckham was, in many ways, a specialized player. He was, arguably, the best dead-ball specialist of his generation. Furthermore, he could ping long balls with tremendous accuracy. Beckham was also highly energized, although not a playmaking dynamo.
These were the qualities that earned him a professional contract with Manchester United. And these are the qualities that he would have used to earn your fantasy football team points.
Since data collecting wasn’t as thorough during the 1990s, we have fewer variables to consider. Still, they paint a pretty clear picture.
From 1995 to 1998, Beckham always made more than 30 Premier League appearances for Manchester United. He scored between 7 and 9 goals per season.
Of course, his best trait was his ability to cross the ball. He managed 13 assists in the 1997/98 season. Would this be on par with today’s players?
While few teams are using a 4-4-2 tactic anymore, and Beckham’s winger role isn’t very utilized either, we can assume that Beckham might still prove a good choice for fantasy football managers.
Last season, Kevin De Bruyne managed the most assists with 16. The Belgium maestro also scored 7 goals.
While KDB’s skillset may recommend him for a playmaker role, while Beckham played rarer in a central position, I would argue that the English winger registered similar stats and would make a comparable contribution to your fantasy draft.
David Beckham’s peak years with Manchester United
David Beckham famously crossed the ball for the two goals that made Manchester United champions of Europe in 1999. Coincidentally, this was arguably his best season. Beckham assisted for 15 EPL goals and scored 6 himself.
Beckham even increased his goal tally in the following two seasons, managing 9 and 11 goals per Premier League season.
Other than the 2001/2002 campaign, the winger never made less than 30 appearances for Man Utd, and even in that season he was on the pitch 28 times, starting 23 matches.
This kind of output would easily mark him as a potential Team of the Season candidate in modern fantasy football.
While it is true that the current requirements for playing in a top side in the EPL nowadays have changed, if Beckham could retain his stats, he would still be one of the best players in the entire league.
Beckham at Real Madrid and his fantasy football potential
David Beckham’s brand was at an all-time high when he signed for Real Madrid. This was the era of The Galacticos. It meant that Beckham’s face, alongside that of teammates Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, or Luis Figo, was plastered across various advertisements across the world.
Real Madrid’s results, however, were not as spectacular. While Beckham was an important player in La Liga, his stats generally declined slightly.
In his first season in Spain, the 2003/04 campaign, Beckham made 32 appearances. He scored a healthy amount of goals, 9, and assisted for 3 more. Beckham enjoyed a good partnership with wing-back Michel Salgado. It worked similarly to the way he played alongside Gary Neville while at Manchester United.
However, Beckham made fewer appearances in the subsequent three seasons. The one silver lining was his goalscoring output in 2006 when he scored 11 goals.
Furthermore, Real Madrid failed to win the league in all of the seasons in which Beckham was a starting player. They triumphed in La Liga in 2007. But this time, Beckham was making only 14 starts and was no longer Carlos Ancelotti’s first choice.
Should you have still had David Beckham in your fantasy football draft? Beckham would’ve certainly been a candidate. While there were other wingers doing similar things, he was still a world-class set-piece taker and a motivated player.
PSG, L.A. Galaxy and AC Milan
Beckham’s brand arguably continued to rise after his departure from Real. His best playing days were behind him, yes. However, he still showed glimpses of brilliance. This was particularly true when tasked with taking set pieces.
Would you have wanted him on your fantasy football team?
Beckham’s LA Galaxy finished 11th and 13th in his first seasons there. He managed 5 goals and 8 assists in 2008. But those aren’t records to write home about. Other options may have been available.
He represented AC Milan in parts of two seasons. He was impressive in 2009, managing 5 goals and 2 assists in 18 matches. This is impressive, but again, other options may have been available.
Beckham’s stats improved back in US for his final three seasons there. He managed 13 assists in 2011 and was one of the league’s best players.
Finally, Beckham managed 10 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain during his final professional season. With his help, the Parisians won the league, but he was now playing second fiddle to players like Marco Verratti.
Beckham in fantasy football
At his best, David Beckham would’ve made any team and that includes fantasy football teams.
Yes, by today’s standards, his skillset appears relatively small. He was, however, one of the best in the world at what he did. Beckham was a dead-ball specialist and an agile winger who could constantly ping balls into the box.
This means that from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, there were fewer better right-wingers than David Beckham. For these reasons, and during this period, you would’ve wanted Beckham in your fantasy football draft.