David Beckham Reflects on Fan Criticism Following 1998 World Cup Exit



by ZAIN UL ABEDIN

David Beckham Reflects on Fan Criticism Following 1998 World Cup Exit
© Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment

Soccer legend David Beckham, now 48, delves into the harsh criticism he endured from fans and media alike in the aftermath of England's early exit from the 1998 World Cup, shedding light on how it continues to affect him even 25 years later. In an emotionally charged episode of the upcoming Netflix docuseries, "Beckham," the iconic athlete opens up about the tumultuous period in his career, expressing the desire to erase those painful memories.

Beckham candidly admits, "I wish there was a pill that you could take that could erase certain memories. I made a stupid mistake, and it changed my life."

For those unfamiliar with the pivotal moment in 1998, England faced a heart-wrenching defeat in the World Cup, a loss that sent shockwaves through fans. Beckham's "mistake" that fueled the backlash was receiving a red card for retaliating against Argentina's captain, Diego Simeone, after being pushed to the ground.

Intense Public Backlash and Personal Struggles

The upcoming Netflix documentary reveals the extent of the vitriol Beckham faced during that period, including a shocking incident where someone hurled a TV through a third-floor window. Tabloid headlines and sports analysts did not hold back in criticizing his World Cup performance, labeling it as "childish," "petulant," and "stupid."

In the episode, Beckham somberly reflects, "Wherever I went, I got abused, every single day. To walk down the street and see people look at you in a certain way, spit at you, abuse you, come up to your face and say some of the things that they said. That’s difficult."

He goes on to reveal the depth of the animosity directed at him, saying, "The whole country hated me."

"Beckham," the highly anticipated Netflix docuseries, is set to premiere on October 4th, offering viewers an intimate and honest look into the life of one of the most iconic figures in the world of sports. Beckham's willingness to revisit these painful memories serves as a reminder of the resilience required to overcome adversity, even for the biggest stars in the game.

David Beckham