David Beckham’s most memorable moments

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Here we take a look back at the roller coaster ride David Beckham took us on throughout his glittering career with Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and England.

There have been plenty of highs and lows along the way, with glorious goals, silly red cards, confrontations with fans and numerous trophies all encapsulated in his mercurial career.

Enjoy.

PHOTOS: The life and times of David Beckham

Scoring from the halfway line against Wimbledon

In his first full season with Manchester United, Beckham announced his arrival on the scene with a tremendous strike from inside his own half. Of course, spectacular goals were to become a benchmark of his career, but this was the first glorious strike that we all saw. On the first day of the 1996 Premier League season, Beckham picked up the ball just inside his own half and saw goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line. Audaciously, Beckham sent a long distance lob over Sullivan and into the net.

Beckham sent off against Argentina in 1998 World Cup

David Beckham became public enemy number one in England after he was sent off for kicking out at Argentina’s Diego Simeone in the second half. The game was locked at 2-2, with the arch-rivals clashing all over the pitch. Beckham was dragged to the ground by Simeone but then inexcusably kicked out and was shown a straight red. England went on to lose 4-3 on penalties with the British media blaming Beckham for the Three Lions’ exit.

Beckham sends England to World Cup 2002

Beckham went from zero to hero, as his last-minute free kick against Greece sealed England’s qualification to the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea. With the Three Lions trailing 2-1 in the 93rd minute, Beckham stepped up to curl home a trademark free kick into the top corner and send the nation wild. His place as the national hero was restored.

Fall out with Fergie

Beckham’s time at his boyhood club Manchester United was all but over after a bizarre incident with Sir Alex Ferguson in a dressing room bust-up. After an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, Ferguson kicked a soccer cleat across the room and it struck Beckham on the head, giving him a wound that required stitches. Five months later, Beckham left Old Trafford for good. He signed for Real Madrid.

Success…in the end, at Real Madrid

Beckham joined Real Madrid for £25million on July 1, 2003. He chose to wear the number 23 shirt, after his love for Michael Jordan. The Londoner had an up and down time in the Spanish capital but finished his career there on a high, after winning the La Liga title in his final game with Madrid. He spent four years in the Spanish capital and was determined to leave on a high note.

Move to MLS and the LA Galaxy

Beckham’s relationship with Madrid was going downhill rapidly and that continued when it was announced before the end of his final season there, that a move to the LA Galaxy had already been agreed. Beckham signed for LA for $6.5 million a year, but despite this the Galaxy actually earned more than their outlay with the merchandise and other spin offs that came from ‘brand Beckham.’ His first few years in LA proved to be a let down with his own fans confronting Beckham about his performances and why he extended his loan deal to AC Milan. Plenty of other incidents also marred his first years in MLS.

100th cap for England

In 2008 David Beckham joined an elite-group of English soccer players by winning his 100th cap for the national team. He went on to make 115 appearances for England making him the second-highest capped player in English history behind goalkeeper Peter Shilton. He is the most capped outfield player in English history.

Goodbye LA, hello Paris

Beckham signed off his career in Major League Soccer by winning two-straight MLS Cups with the LA Galaxy. His storybook ending came at home against the Houston Dynamo, as LA won 3-1 in December 2012 to finish his time in MLS on a high. After much speculation and deliberation, Beckham decided to join Paris Saint-Germain for the remainder of the Ligue 1 season. He won the French League title with two games to go, becoming the only Englishman in history to win league titles in four different countries.

Milan reportedly meeting with Mendes re: Costa, Sanches, Falcao

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AC Milan’s big summer could get downright massive, according to a sensational report out of Italy.

It’d be fair to assume some think it already has been, given the captures of Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Mateo Musacchio, Franck Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, and Lucas Biglia.

Right?

[ MORE: Dom Dwyer traded ]

Well, Sky Sports in Italy is reporting that super agent Jorge Mendes is meeting with i Rossoneri regarding not one but three of his clients, each of whom is well-known by European soccer fans.

The biggest name is Diego Costa, who would likely be gone from Chelsea already if Atletico Madrid wasn’t under a transfer ban.

The report also names AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and Bayern Munich youngster Renato Sanches, who was considered one of the top summer transfers this time last year.

The 31-year-old Falcao scored 30 goals for Moncao in his return from the Premier League, while Sanches had this to say about a potential move away from the Allianz Arena:

“I’m young, I have to play a lot. I think the chance to do so is greater in Milan than in Munich.

“I want to play more consistently and [a move to] AC Milan is a very interesting option. If the two clubs reach an agreement, I would be happy to join the Rossoneri.”

Milan is participating in the Europa League this year in addition to Serie A, and already has terrific depth to take a chance at winning both.

Dom Dwyer traded to Orlando City for hefty allocation money

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Dom Dwyer is heading back to Orlando City in exchange for money.

By MLS terms, it’s a lot of cash.

Sporting KC will receive a total of $1.6 million in allocation money for the USMNT striker, and Dwyer returns to a club which saw him score 15 goals in 13 loan appearances in 2013.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The England-born 26-year-old had those gaudy numbers when Orlando was still in then-USL PRO (now just USL).

Dwyer has 57 goals in 128 MLS appearances, including a career-high 22 in 2014. His departure from KC raises questions about their plans for to fill his shoes, and some are suggesting that Krisztian Nemeth could return to the club from Al-Gharafa.

And down in Orlando, could Dwyer’s arrival mean the sale of Canadian striker Cyle Larin? The prolific youngster ran afoul of the law earlier this season, and perhaps his departure will be hastened with most leagues in the world still preparing for their seasons.

Plus, the move now takes Dwyer away from the city of his wife’s place of employment. Sydney Leroux-Dwyer helps the attack at FC Kansas City, where she has three goals and an assist in 15 games this season.

What would Gold Cup win mean for Bruce Arena’s future?

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The U.S. face Jamaica in the 2017 Gold Cup final in Santa Clara, Calif. on Wednesday and winning this competition would be very significant for the USMNT and head coach Bruce Arena.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up?

This is much more than a second-tier tournament for the U.S.

Arena arrived in November 2016, just days after Jurgen Klinsmann was fired as USMNT head coach following five years of ups and downs which yielded one Gold Cup (2013) a Round of 16 spot at the 2014 World Cup and a semifinal appearance at the 2016 Copa America Centenario. The downs were too numerous to mention.

In his 13 games so far, Arena has yet to lose in his second spell in charge of the USMNT.

Sure, plenty of those games have been friendlies, winnable World Cup qualifiers (points on the road in Honduras and Mexico were huge) and Gold Cup group games, but he’s still managed his squad exceptionally well and has put both himself and his players in a much more positive frame of mind heading into a big 12 months.

If Arena leads the U.S. to Gold Cup glory on Wednesday, it would not doubt prove U.S. Soccer correct in hiring him and turning around the fortunes of the program which seemed riddled with infighting and anguish under Klinsmann.

Arena is a straight talker, we all know that, and the Brooklyn native is feeding off his vast experience in MLS and from his first stint in charge of the the U.S. from 1998-2006. The 65-year-old is a consummate man-manager, the Sir Alex Ferguson of the U.S. soccer scene if you will, and Arena has already fostered a strong team spirit despite having a huge player pool and almost three separate squads to juggle over the past seven months.

Sure, the European contingent from the U.S is missing for the Gold Cup and so are plenty of stars from Mexico, Costa Rica and other nations but on home soil the U.S. has got by shaky defensive displays to breeze into the final. The USMNT was in a similar situation in the last Gold Cup and didn’t handle it well.

Arena has juggled the demands of his senior players, promising youngster and certain situations (think of the tactical and personnel switches at the Azteca in June) admirably but he knows his strongest team and sticks to it when crunch time arrives.

The U.S. are the heavy favorites against the Reggae Boyz but we all know what Jamaica is capable of after they beat Klinsmann’s U.S. side 2-1 in the 2015 Gold Cup semifinal to hammer another considerable nail into his fast assembling U.S. Soccer coffin.

Arena has a contract through the end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer and although the U.S. still has to qualify for the tournament, if these positive results continue then maybe Arena is the long-term answer for Sunil Gulati and Co.

First up, he has to win the Gold Cup. Secondly, he has to guide the U.S. to the World Cup. And then if he excels in Russia next summer (another Round of 16 berth, or better, would be a great success) then who knows what’s next for Arena?

Everyone agreed he was the smart hire with the USMNT in turmoil back in November but nobody saw it going this smoothly.

Kudos to Arena for his understated, straight-forward approach which is exactly what the USMNT need right now, and possibly for many years to come.

Bayern defender Juan Bernat out weeks after ankle surgery

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich defender Juan Bernat has been ruled out for several weeks after undergoing surgery on his left ankle.

[ MORE: Man United’s transfer plans

Bayern says the 24-year-old Bernat suffered the injury last Saturday in a friendly game against Milan in Shanghai, and that he underwent surgery in Munich on Monday.

Bernat, who joined Bayern from Valencia in 2014, has played in 65 Bundesliga games for the side, winning the league in each of his three seasons. He has made seven appearances for Spain.