23 May 19
DAVID BECKHAM says winning the Treble in 1999 with Manchester United was his most satisfying and emotional time after suffering nationwide abuse that season.
He was football’s Public Enemy No 1 in 1998 after being sent off in England’s World Cup last-16 shootout defeat to Argentina in France.
David Beckham has opened up on the abuse he got from fans after being sent off against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup
After he was red-carded for lashing out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone, an effigy of Becks was hung outside a pub in Croydon and he was jeered at away games the next season.
But Beckham had the last laugh, lifting the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League trophies under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 44-year-old said: “The 1999 season was special for us as a club, and as individuals.
“But for me and for my family, it was one of the most rewarding, one of the most emotional.
“I had just come off the back of being sent off in the World Cup. Every game I played that season away from home, the abuse was like nothing I had experienced.
“Every game I played at Old Trafford, I’d step over to take a corner, everyone stood up, clapped and sang my name.
“Away from home, it was slightly different. So, to win a Treble in that fashion, it felt a lot more rewarding given what I had gone through.
[quote credit=”David Beckham”]Every game I played that season away from home, the abuse was like nothing I had experienced.[/quote]
“The abuse continued for seasons after. But to be successful, at the end of a hard summer, meant more.”
On May 16, United beat Arsenal to the Premier League crown by one point, with Beckham scoring in a 2-1 win over Tottenham.
Next up they swatted aside Newcastle to win the FA Cup at Wembley.
Then, on May 26, they came from behind to beat Bayern Munich 2-1 at the Nou Camp, thanks to late goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Beckham says it was the one match in his career where he experienced “butterflies” in his stomach.
Speaking to OTRO.com, Beckham says he only calmed down once he spotted then-fiancee Victoria in the crowd.
Beckham, 44, helped Manchester United win the Treble the season after the 1998 World Cup
He said: “I’m not really a superstitious person but the one thing I like to know is my family are safe in the stadium.
“I looked up and I could see my parents, I just couldn’t see Victoria.
“Then, all of a sudden, my friend Dave Gardner walked in with Victoria and that’s when I relaxed and forgot all the nerves.”
Bayern scored on six minutes through winger Mario Basler and could have easily doubled that advantage.
Yet even though United were missing key players Roy Keane and Paul Scholes through suspension, Beckham had a feeling the match would swing in their favour once they equalised through Sheringham in stoppage-time.
Beckham said: “Getting it back to 1-1 was a big moment. You start to think, ‘OK, prepare yourself for extra-time’.
“But I knew that once we had that momentum, just like we had done in a few other games that season, like against Liverpool and Arsenal, all of a sudden the game changed.
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“I thought, ‘You know, there are still a few minutes left…’”
And the rest is history. For all he has achieved, with United, England and European giants Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, Beckham says the ecstasy of winning the Champions League will remain in his heart.
He added: “Nothing comes close to that feeling of winning a game of that magnitude.”
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