David Beckham: Man Utd icon's 'Inception free-kick' with Ryan Giggs vs Aston Villa

  • Kobe Tong
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Happy birthday, David Beckham.

One of the world's most recognisable figures has turned 46 years old today and frankly, he still looks just as stunning as he did during his playing days.

However, forget his sex symbol status and worldwide fame for a second because we're here to remind the world that Beckham was a far better football player than many give him credit for.

Beckham's Man Utd legacy

Besides, those who have grown up in the era of Inter Miami and Haig Club whiskey could be forgiven for forgetting that Beckham was actually one of the Premier League's greatest ever players.

And while he would later enjoy success with Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, there's no denying that Beckham reached his zenith with Manchester United.

Beckham rose through the 'Class of 92' ranks to become a regular starter for Sir Alex Ferguson's serial winners, eventually making almost 400 appearances for the Old Trafford club.

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Beckham's unbelievable free-kicks

And by the time he moved to the Bernabeu in 2003, Beckham boasted a stunning trophy cabinet of six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the Champions League and Intercontinental Cup.

However, as far as individual output is concerned, I think we can all agree that it was Beckham's miraculous free-kicks that endeared him to the Old Trafford faithful the most.

Beckham remains the all-time record goalscorer of free-kicks in the Premier League, producing stunning strikes against everyone from Everton to Liverpool.

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Beckham and Giggs' Inception free-kick

And in celebration of Beckham's latest birthday, we wanted to reflect on the most unique example of his free-kicks when the United icon 'collaborated' with Ryan Giggs for a truly one-of-a-kind set-piece.

During a trip to Villa Park in August 2001, Beckham and Giggs baffled Aston Villa by taking a free-kick at the same time in what was either terrible miscommunication or an accidental moment of genius.

In fact, Giggs and Beckham timed it so well that it's difficult to tell who got the final touch - though our best bet isn't the birthday boy - and it almost worked to perfection in the form of a testing shot.

Even when Giggs spoke to the official Manchester United podcast 2020, he couldn't provide an answer for the 'accident', joking that he would have claimed the goal because he was older.

Peter Schmeichel was forced into a one-handed save, even earning a clattering from Roy Keane along the way, duly denying one of the most unique Premier League goals of all time.

And if nobody has said it before, then I'd personally like to christen it the 'Inception free-kick' because like dreams within dreams, I can't help loving the free-kick within a free-kick. 

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So, even if it wasn't Beckham who got the final touch, it certainly feels apt that the greatest free-kick taker in Premier League history would be involved in one of its most bizarre routines ever.

Well, either that or he was involved in one of its most fascinating mix-ups. Either way, happy birthday, David!

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