David Beckham opens up on sobbing ‘uncontrollably’ after red card in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina, feeling ‘let down’ by his England team-mates in the aftermath and the role Sir Alex Ferguson played in helping him overcome abuse from England fans
- David Beckham was sent off for kicking the back of Diego Simeone’s leg
- England were knocked out of the last-16 clash against Argentina on penalties
- The former Manchester United winger was booed in the following campaign
- But he revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson and United fans helped him through
- Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates
David Beckham has revealed he sobbed ‘uncontrollably’ following his dismissal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup, but admits he felt let down by his England team-mates for not backing him up.
Beckham was sent off for kicking the back of Diego Simeone’s leg with his heel in their round of 16 stage defeat, lashing out at the Argentina captain after he had shoved him to the ground.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger then had to watch on as England went on to lose the match on penalties.
David Beckham has said he sobbed ‘uncontrollably’ after his sending off at the 1998 World Cup
Beckham was sent off for kicking the back of Diego Simeone’s leg with his heel
Beckham was on the bench for the opening two games of the tournament and had only come back into the frame in the final group match against Colombia, in which he scored a stunning free-kick.
But speaking on former United and England team-mate Gary Neville’s The Overlap YouTube channel, he revealed frustration at a lack of playing time was not behind his sending off, instead saying it was essential to him enjoying a successful career.
‘I remember how tough it was’, he said. ‘It was a tough tournament to start off with, it got better then it got really bad.
‘That was a tough start [not getting picked for the first two games], what happened after that it was tough all round. I never felt I was frustrated playing in those games.
Beckham admitted he felt let down by his England team-mates for not backing him up
He was speaking to former Man United and England team-mate Gary Neville on the Overlap
‘I don’t remember going on that pitch wanting to prove a point because I had been left out of other games. It was just a moment that happened where I reacted – it was a moment of madness, really.
‘When I look back on my career and talk about regrets, I wish that never happened. But on the flip side, if it didn’t happen, I might not have had the career that I had.
‘It’s probably harsh to say I still feel let down [by team-mates] but I look back at that moment – we were young. I made a mistake but there’s certain people in football you expect to get behind you no matter what. We always had that at United, but I felt let down.
‘I don’t think I’ve ever been as emotional as I was coming out of that ground and seeing my mum and dad. I was crying uncontrollable sobbing, which is slightly embarrassing. At the time, the Argentina coach was going past and they were all banging [on the window].’
Beckham was constantly booed and jeered by fans of opposition clubs for the majority of the following 1998-99 season, with a burning effigy of him and death threats among the worst of the backlash to his red card.
Beckham revealed then-United boss Sir Alex Ferguson called him to check in on him
But the 47-year-old has revealed how an encouraging conversation with then-club boss Sir Alex Ferguson, and the reception from United fans at home to Leicester in the first game of the new Premier League season helped him overcome the abuse.
‘I didn’t even think and expect what was going to happen for the next few years. I knew it would be a tough moment going back home, but I never expected it to be as bad as it was.
‘The morning after [Sir Alex] phoned me early to say ”you alright son?”. I said yes and I got emotional to him. He said ”don’t worry, go away and come back to the club and you’ve got us”. That was all I needed to hear.
‘He said go away somewhere quiet. I went to New York! My wife Victoria was there and I went to meet her. It was probably the worst place I could have gone.
‘I got back [from the World Cup] and walked through the airport and got absolutely abused by this one TV reporter who said I’d let my parents and grandparents down.
He was booed by opposition fans for much of the following season due to his red card
‘Every game that season, apart from every time we played at Old Trafford, was horrendous. Every talk show, everywhere I went, every time I put petrol in the car I was getting abuse.
‘Whether it was in Manchester or London, it didn’t matter. The thing that got me through that season were the United fans, I was nervous anyway for that first game because I didn’t know what reaction I would get.
‘That first corner, I went over with the ball, and I looked up and the whole stand rose. That’s how I got through that season.’
Beckham went on to score a last-gasp equaliser in that game, and played a vital part in United going on to win the treble that season, scoring nine goals and providing double the assists in 54 games.
The Overlap is a YouTube channel from Gary Neville in partnership with Sky Bet.
He also revealed how the positive reception from United fans against Leicester helped him
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