David Beckham reached an impressive milestone by securing his 108th cap for the English soccer team. Matching Bobby Moore's field player record for most caps--especially in this era of football--is quite an accomplishment. What's more impressive is Beckham's transformation. When he moved to the LA Galaxy, most observers (including me!) had written him off and cast him as an entertainer rather than a soccer player. Ruud Gullit has spoken about the difficulties of managing in the MLS. Aside from having its season at a different time than other soccer leagues, the games do not occur with any regular timing. I'm sure these factors make it hard as well for a player who grew up in European soccer.
Despite these challenges, Beckham has raised his game considerably to the point where he deserved to be on the pitch against Spain. In fact, he played better than most of the English squad. When he was captain of the squad, he seemed more intent on appreciating the elegance of his passes or free kicks rather than leading. It was quite something to watch him working the ref, yelling at his teammates, and floating toward the back line to get touches of the ball. He used to be too focused on his marketability. Even in this respect, he's raised his game. It's quite a gesture for him to donate his shirt from the Spain match to the charitable foundation bearing Bobby Moore's name.
I mocked David Beckham when he joined the LA Galaxy. I'll gladly eat some humble pie. I'm happy to admit that I'm cheering for him to make his move to AC Milan permanent and add more caps with the English national team.