As I watched him both before, during, and after the game tonight in Rome, one has to marvel at the professionalism of this man. He hasn't played competitive football since November, yet he played virtually the entire game tonight at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma. The teams drew, 2 x 2.
According to Panini Digital, David Beckham played 91 total minutes (he was subbed out in the 89th minute by Mathieu Flamini), and had 48 successful passes. He also had one shot on goal.
He also took several corners, along with a few free kicks. Carlo Ancelotti must wonder why the soccer Gods smiled on him. For the next two months, he has Beckham, Andrea Pirlo, and Ronaldinho Gaucho to take free kicks for AC Milan.
He seemed to fit Milan like a glove.
Joking in the Tunnel
Before the game, he embraced and seemed to be joking with Julio Baptista, his former Real Madrid teammate, in the tunnel. He also shared a warm smile with Cicinho, another Merengue colleague who was opposing him today.
When Pato scored his first goal of the evening, Beckham leaped on his back in celebration.
After the game, he came off the bench to congratulate players on both sides.
Comments After the Game
“Mi sono anche divertito, grazie ai compagni che mi hanno aiutato. Nel complesso sto bene, non mi aspettavo di giocare dall’inizio”… Tra due mesi dovrò tornare ai Los Angeles Galaxy, ma sono contento di avere questa occasione adesso”.
Source: La Gazzetta dello Sport, 11 January 2009.A Great Professional
“I enjoyed myself, thanks to my teammates who helped me. Overall I am well, I didn’t expect to play from the start… In two months, I will have to return to the Los Angeles Galaxy, but I am pleased to have this experience now.”
It seems to be the mantra of anyone quoted about Beckham.
Ancelotti, Paolo Maldini, and Clarence Seedorf have used this term since their Dubai training camp. In the past, Fabio Capello said it several times. Even after he benched him in Madrid, he noted the great professionalism of Beckham.
The man travels around the world and receives the scrutiny of a Head of State. Yet he seems to handle the pressure, both on and off the pitch, with unusual grace and courtesy.
He may be a global brand, but for those of us who are not concerned by such media-created frenzies, he epitomizes professionalism.
In any language.
Un grande professionalista, David Beckham.