Why Do People Hate David Beckham?

David Beckham is one of the most famous and successful soccer players in the world. He had an illustrious 20 year career playing for top clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain. He also captained the England national team for several years.

However, despite all his success and popularity, Beckham has also been a controversial figure who has garnered a fair share of haters over the years. Here are some of the main reasons why certain groups of people dislike or hate David Beckham:

He is Perceived as Arrogant

One of the most common criticisms against David Beckham is that he comes across as arrogant and self-obsessed. Here are some examples of why this perception exists:

  • Beckham has cultivated a celebrity persona and is known for his ever-changing hairstyles, tattoos, and fashion choices. He embraces the celebrity lifestyle.
  • He is known for his media presence and endorsements. Critics feel he is more focused on his brand than soccer.
  • He is flamboyant on the field, known for celebrating goals by taking off his jersey. Some find this disrespectful.
  • He has been caught on camera berating teammates when they make mistakes. This makes him seem like a diva.

This perception of arrogance has led many soccer fans and pundits to dislike Beckham despite his obvious talents as a player. They feel he places individual fame above the team’s interests.

He is Perceived as Overrated

Another reason why Beckham has haters is the perception that he is overrated as a soccer player. Here are some arguments his critics use:

  • He was never the best player on any of his teams – at Manchester United he played alongside stars like Eric Cantona and at Real Madrid he was overshadowed by Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and other Galacticos.
  • England underachieved for much of Beckham’s tenure as captain, failing to win a major tournament.
  • He was gifted many opportunities because of his marketability, not just his soccer skills. His move to LA Galaxy was seen by many as prioritizing money and fame over sporting ambition.
  • Comparisons to legendary midfielders like Zidane, Platini and Iniesta lead many to conclude Beckham was not truly an elite talent.

While Beckham had superb crossing, free kick and long shot abilities, critics feel he is overrated as an overall midfielder and did not deserve his global superstar status.

He Plays for the Most Hated Soccer Clubs

Beckham played for two of the most successful and despised clubs in soccer – Manchester United and Real Madrid. Fans of rival teams like Liverpool, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid are always prone to hating United and Madrid players.

Beckham’s immense success and popularity while playing for these super-clubs added to the vitriol directed at him by opposing fans. They saw him as a symbol of the arrogance of these wealthy, successful clubs.

This tribalism in soccer fandom will always drive hatred towards players who achieve fame with the top teams. Beckham’s case was amplified given how he transcended soccer to become a global celebrity.

He is Seen as Unpatriotic

Another source of criticism comes from those who feel Beckham prioritized money and fame over representing his country. Here are some of the controversial incidents that fueled this viewpoint:

  • In 2000, a year after being made England captain, Beckham signed a lucrative deal to play for LA Galaxy post-2006. This led to outrage as it was seen as a lack of commitment to the national team.
  • Beckham missed playing for England several times later in his career after picking up minor injuries while playing for clubs. Critics thought he should have sacrificed for his country instead.
  • In 2010, Beckham tore his Achilles tendon playing for AC Milan on loan from Galaxy while England badly needed him to be fit for the World Cup. He was accused of putting club over country.

These incidents led to a nagging perception that Beckham always selfishly put personal fame and wealth before England. This significantly turned off patriotic soccer fans.

He is Disliked for Off-Field Reasons

Beckham has also garnered haters over controversies beyond just soccer, including:

  • The Rebecca Loos affair: In 2004, allegations emerged that Beckham had an affair with Loos, creating a media frenzy. Though never conclusively proven, this tarnished his image.
  • The Victoria Adams marriage: Many disapprove of the excessive celebrity culture and lifestyle Beckham shares with his wife.
  • Tabloid presence: Beckham is omnipresent in UK tabloids and paparazzi photos, which aggravates people.
  • Tax issues: News of the Beckhams’ complex finances and accusations of tax avoidance have created resentment.
  • L.A. Lifestyle: Moving to L.A. and embracing that lifestyle led some English fans to accuse him of ‘going Hollywood’ and selling out.

These aspects of Beckham’s off-field life and controversies have also bred significant ill-will and hatred among certain groups.

He is Over-Commercialized

Lastly, one other reason why Beckham has haters is the perception that he is over-commercialized. Beckham has earned huge sums of money from endorsements for brands like Adidas, H&M, Breitling and Gillette over the years.

For critics, this hyper-commercialization of his image and global fame makes Beckham seem more like a corporate brand than an athlete. They hate how he uses soccer as a means to burnish his brand rather than for the love of the game. The sheer ubiquity of Beckham as an advertising icon rubs many the wrong way.

Why the Hatred is Unfair

However, while these are some of the reasons why David Beckham has haters, the criticism and hatred directed at him also seems excessive and unfair at times:

  • He was undeniably a very skilled soccer player, one of England’s best for a generation. Though not the world’s best, he deserves respect for his work ethic and accomplishments.
  • His celebrity lifestyle and swagger can be annoying, but Beckham has also shown himself to be a devoted family man off-field with no major scandals.
  • He was a great leader for both Manchester United and Real Madrid, helping those teams win many trophies as part of a world-class midfield.
  • He served as England captain with passion for several years and his free kick goals were crucial in key matches like the 2002 World Cup qualifier vs Greece.
  • The commercialization should not overshadow how he inspired so many young soccer fans to play the game.

While people may dislike aspects of Beckham, the vitriolic hate he often receives even today is arguably undeserved for a player who achieved so much in the game.


In conclusion, David Beckham’s global fame and success has also given rise to significant hatred and criticism from various groups of soccer fans and the media. He is perceived by some as arrogant, overrated, unpatriotic and over-commercialized.

However, the criticism often seems excessive given Beckham’s undeniable soccer achievements, leadership, impact on the game, and relatively controversy-free personal life. The passion he evokes among both fans and haters is a testament to his fame and cultural impact that transcended soccer over his two-decade career and even into retirement today.

Why is Beckham so famous?

David Beckham is one of the most famous soccer players in history for several reasons:

  • He was a very skilled player, known especially for his crossing, free kicks, and long-range shots, playing for top clubs like Man Utd, Real Madrid and winning many trophies.
  • He had a flamboyant style on the field with his ever-changing hairstyles, fashion choices and bold celebrations after scoring. This made him stand out.
  • He became a fashion and pop culture icon off the field with his well-publicized marriage to Spice Girl Victoria Adams.
  • He cultivated a huge commercial brand around himself with mega endorsement deals. His fashion, looks and lifestyle made him just as famous as his soccer skills.
  • He played for the most popular and successful clubs like Man United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy which amplified his fame globally.
  • He embraced the celebrity lifestyle and paparazzi attention, which kept him constantly in the tabloids and media.

In essence, Beckham’s soccer talent combined with his looks, lifestyle and savvy leveraging of his star power created the ‘David Beckham’ brand that made him one of the most recognizable athletes ever.

Why did Beckham move to LA Galaxy from Real Madrid?

There were a few key reasons why David Beckham left Real Madrid, where he was playing at the peak of his career, to move to LA Galaxy in 2007:

  • Money: LA Galaxy offered Beckham an unprecedented 5-year deal worth over $250 million, including very high salary and a stake in the club’s revenues.Moving to the U.S. was a financial windfall.
  • Growing his brand: Playing in the U.S. allowed Beckham to become the face of soccer there and grow his commercial ventures. His brand had started to plateau in Europe.
  • Hollywood fame: Moving to L.A. with Victoria expanded the Beckhams’ celebrity connections and lifestyle beyond soccer. It boosted their showbiz aspirations.
  • New challenge: He had won everything at Real Madrid and wanted a change. Bringing soccer to the American mainstream was an exciting new project.
  • Avoid competition: Beckham faced falling down the pecking order at Real with new Galactico signings. In MLS he was assured of starting every match.

So while Beckham faced criticism for prioritizing money over soccer, the move made sense for expanding his global fame and opportunities beyond the field.

How did Beckham impact the popularity of soccer in the U.S.?

David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy in 2007 made a major impact on soccer’s growth and popularity in America:

  • It put MLS on the global map and gave it much more mainstream media attention in the U.S.
  • Beckham’s earnings and lifestyle as a soccer star made the game seem aspirational to American kids and fans.
  • His sexy and glamorous image attracted new female and celebrity fans to MLS games.
  • Youth soccer academies, P.R. firms and agencies mushroomed around the league to leverage Beckham’s brand power in the U.S.
  • MLS clubs used Beckham’s pulling power to negotiate bigger TV deals and commercial sponsorships. League revenues rose significantly.
  • Beckham’s jersey became the highest selling in MLS history demonstrating his marketing appeal.
  • The academy system was bolstered, as MLS clubs invested more in youth development and grassroots training.

So David Beckham’s U.S. years contributed greatly towards making soccer more mainstream and attractive as a spectator sport and career option for young American athletes.

Why did some England fans dislike Beckham as captain?

Here are some of the reasons why David Beckham faced criticism from some England fans while he was the national team’s captain:

  • His celebrity lifestyle and marriage to Victoria Beckham made some see him as more focused on fame than soccer.
  • When Beckham missed England games due to injury after playing for clubs soon after, it was seen as lack of commitment.
  • After his move to L.A. Galaxy was announced, fans felt he cared more about money than representing England.
  • When England under-performed in World Cups in 2002, 2006 it was blamed on Beckham’s lack of leadership.
  • Beckham stepping down as captain after 2006 World Cup defeat to Portugal was viewed by some as cowardice.
  • Tabloid controversies like the Rebecca Loos affair undermined Beckham’s captaincy in some fans’ eyes.
  • His emotiveness, celebrity friendships and glam image didn’t fit some fans’ view of a proper England captain.

So while Beckham was undoubtedly England’s biggest star, sections of fans and media felt him more concerned with his own brand than the team.

Why don’t some soccer purists rate Beckham highly?

Here are some of the reasons why soccer purists who judge players just on ability and performance don’t rate David Beckham as highly as his fame might suggest:

  • He never won major individual honors like the Ballon D’or. Peers like Zidane, Figo and Ronaldo were more skilled.
  • Alex Ferguson picking Beckham to sell rather than keep at Man United indicates doubts over his world-class ability.
  • He was never the best player at his clubs, overshadowed by stars like Cantona, Zidane, Ronaldinho etc.
  • Beckham played many games for England but their poor tournament results don’t bolster his reputation.
  • His Hollywood move to LA Galaxy was seen as choosing money and fame over serious soccer by purists.
  • He excelled at crossing, free kicks and long shots but wasn’t an elite all-round central midfielder in the class of Xavi or Iniesta.
  • His off-field fame, endorsements and tabloid lifestyle are irrelevant to evaluating his contributions as just a soccer player.

So while Beckham was a very good player, soccer purists feel he falls just short of the all-time great icons of the game.

Is David Beckham over-hated or unfairly criticized?

There are good arguments that the criticism and hatred David Beckham attracts goes too far and is unfair:

  • No one can doubt his exceptional work ethic and professionalism over his 20+ year career.
  • He performed very well for every major club he played for and won many trophies as a key player.
  • For England, he was one of few world class talents in his generation and delivered many excellent displays.
  • While seeking fame off-pitch, Beckham was also a quiet family man and had no major behavioral issues.
  • He served as an excellent role model inspiring so many youngsters to play soccer.
  • Moving to MLS was helpful in popularizing the game and league. His ownership stake indicates long-term commitment.
  • Beckham has done a lot of charity work for causes like malaria prevention and children’s issues.

So while people may dislike aspects of Beckham, the hate seems excessive given his stellar achievements in soccer, lack of major controversies, and positive contributions to the game’s growth.

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