You may dismiss this as sad Schadenfreude, but I admit to being more than a little pleased that David Beckham was not selected for the England friendly against Switzerland, thereby denying the golden one his 100th cap.
Now, I like Beckham, in that distant, respectful way. I admire his talent and he seems genuinely devoted to England (or more likely his own legacy.) I “met” him once after his first game for Real Madrid in Majorca in 2003. We chatted for a few micro super-celebrity moments in the players’ area and I got his autograph (for some young relatives – HONEST!) He seems a decent bloke. He’s always on the phone, seeing how I am. That brief meeting clearly had a big impact on him.
For the most part, Beckham carries his extraordinary fame admirably. However, all his hype and self-promotion makes me want to really bloody dislike him. Whether it is his balls all padded up by Armani, or him playing keepy-uppy in ‘urban’ shorts in the Brazilian surf, or schmoozing among other celebrities. This is when I see a narcissistic, avaricious, spoilt brat who gets everything single damn thing he wants. Which is why, when he doesn’t get what he purports to be the most important thing to him, it seems only right. A little bit of 24 carat just desserts. A big bad brick dropped in his golden vanity pool.
When you look at Beckham’s global itinerary in recent months and playing time, you also realise that Fabio Capello has made the right decision. Beckham’s mind and body is elsewhere, so good riddance. Capello suddenly soared in my estimation for having the gumption to dismiss all the daft clamour to include Beckham for absurd sentimental reasons.
Beckham has several decades ahead of him to make billions, but he has only a brief window of time if he genuinely wants to achieve a worthwhile England playing legacy. What price would he put on that? If you ask me, I don’t think, deep down, he is really that bothered, otherwise he would put the breaks on Brand Beckham immediately and dump it on the bench.
In a way – and it seems pathetically spiteful to say this out loud – but I hope he NEVER gets his 100th cap because it will always serve as a metaphor for the choices he made.