David Beckham forged a 20-year professional soccer career by doing a number of things well on the field. But there was one aspect of the game, above all others, that he simply mastered: the free kick.
Beckham’s ability to strike a dead ball — hitting it over a wall of defenders with power and making it dip or swerve past a goalkeeper with grace — set him apart from his peers. It was a weapon his teams used to their advantage, as any free-kick inside of 40 yards instantly became a scoring opportunity.
Beckham converted 65 of them into goals during his illustrious playing career. He scored 29 for Manchester United, 14 for Real Madrid, 12 for the L.A. Galaxy, seven for England’s national team, two for Preston North End and one for AC Milan. Of the 114 goals Beckham scored between 1993 and 2013, more than half came from set pieces.
Beckham announced his retirement on Thursday, effective at the end of PSG’s 2012-13 season. Fans and pundits are recalling his finest moments, many of which include his free-kicks. We’re all familiar with the feeling of anticipation as he ran up to the ball. The same applies to that feeling of déjà vu we felt as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Watch all 65 of Beckham’s free-kick goals in the video below.