David Beckham's best free-kicks

David Beckham celebrates after scoring for Manchester United against Real Madrid in the Champions League in 2003.
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While football fans have long been divided over David Beckham's credentials as a world-class player, there is one thing everybody can agree on: as a free-kick taker, he was elite.

The former England captain scored 65 goals from free-kicks during his career, making him one of the most prolific dead-ball specialists in the history of the game.

When he struck the ball sweetly with his right foot, he was unstoppable. Here, a look at his finest free-kicks...

34. Real Madrid vs Real Zaragoza (2004)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring for Real Madrid in the 2004 Copa del Rey final against Zaragoza.

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Real Madrid's 2003/04 season was David Beckham's first in Spain and it started so well, only to end in drama, chaos and embarrassment.

Los Blancos were knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco, threw away an advantage in La Liga and lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Zaragoza. Beckham gave Real the lead in that showpiece match in Barcelona with a superb curler from 35 yards out, but the joy was short-lived in a 3-2 loss after extra time.

33. Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid (2007)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring a free-kick for Real Madrid against Real Sociedad in 2007.

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Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello had vowed that David Beckham would never play for the club again after it emerged the midfielder was joining LA Galaxy at the end of the 2006/07 season.

But with the team struggling and adrift in La Liga, the Italian was forced to bring Beckham in from the cold. The England midfielder scored on his return with this free-kick from almost 30 yards out against Real Sociedad, Madrid won 2-1 in San Sebastian and went on an amazing run which saw them overtake Barcelona and claim La Liga. Huge.

32. Greece vs England (2001)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring a free-kick for England against Greece in Athens in 2001.

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Not the one you're thinking of... that comes later! But Greece should have known what to expect from David Beckham at free-kicks after he scored one against them in Athens.

Although not quite as epic as the Old Trafford one, this is still a super strike. To the right of the D, just over 25 yards out, Beckham curls a delightful shot up and over the wall. Greece's goalkeeper can only watch, presumably in admiration, as it flies into the top corner.

31. England vs Ecuador (2006)

David Beckham celebrates with Ashley Cole after his free-kick winner for England against Ecuador at the 2006 World Cup.

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David Beckham's England place was under threat, the team were not playing well and the captain had felt ill before the World Cup last-16 match against Ecuador.

At the end of the game, he was physically sick on the pitch, but he still somehow produced the moment which won it as he curled a free-kick over the wall from almost 30 yards out and to the left to beat goalkeeper Cristhian Mora at his right-hand post on the hour mark. An important goal, which also ended up being his last for England.

30. LA Galaxy vs Sporting Kansas City (2011)

David Beckham takes a free-kick for LA Galaxy against Sporting Kansas City in 2011.

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David Beckham scored some fantastic free-kicks during his time with LA Galaxy and this was one of the best.

Way out left, the midfielder somehow found an angle and curled a fierce effort into the goalkeeper's top-right corner in a 4-1 win for the Los Angeles outfit. Wonderful.

29. Real Madrid vs Marseille (2003)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for Real Madrid against Marseille in the Champions League in 2003.

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One of David Beckham's best free-kick goals for Real Madrid came against Marseille at the Stade Velodrome in the Champions League in November 2003.

In an attempt to cut out Beckham's curler, Marseille's Croatian goalkeeper Vedran Runje came charging out to his six-yard line, but the ball flew over his head and outstretched arms into the top corner. Beauty.

28. Leicester City vs Manchester United (2000)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for Manchester United against Leicester in 2000.

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Young Leicester City fans at Filbert Street wore swimming hats to mock David Beckham's new skinhead hairstyle. The midfielder's look may have been different, but his ability at hitting set pieces was unchanged.

United won a free-kick outside the area on the left side and Beckham curled the ball through the wall and inside the near post. Goalkeeper Tim Flowers, an England international, didn't even move.

27. Portland Timbers vs LA Galaxy (2012)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring a free-kick for LA Galaxy against Portland in 2012.

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One of many superb strikes from David Beckham's time at LA Galaxy, this one came in an epic 5-3 win away to Portland Timbers.

And it is unique in its style too as the midfielder whips a curler over the wall from a position left of centre and somehow manages to get it low into the goalkeeper's bottom-right corner. Majestic.

26. Manchester United vs Portsmouth (2003)

David Beckham celebrates with Ryan Giggs after scoring a free-kick for Manchester United against Portsmouth in the FA Cup in January 2003.

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One of David Beckham's last free-kick goals for Manchester United and a memorable one in a 4-1 win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round at Old Trafford.

Classic Becks, too. With the midfielder quite far right and the goalkeeper expecting either a cross or a shot to his left, he goes the other way instead with a curler into the far corner. Brilliant.

25. Manchester United vs Sunderland (2002)

David Beckham celebrates with Roy Keane and OIe Gunnar Solskjaer after scoring a free-kick against Sunderland for Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2002.

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Nine Sunderland players stood in a line between David Beckham and the goal, but still the Manchester United midfielder found a way through.

There were three United players in the wall too, but Beckham spotted a gap and blasted the ball into the corner past them all – and goalkeeper Jurgen Macho – to score in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford. Extraordinary.

24. Real Madrid vs Cadiz (2006)

David Beckham celebrates with his Real Madrid team-mates after scoring a free-kick against Cadiz at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2006.

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With Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and David Beckham in their ranks, Real Madrid had ridiculous options from free-kicks in the early 2000s.

When Madrid won a free-kick in this game against Cadiz in 2006, Beckham played a short pass to Zidane and Roberto Carlos ran from behind to power the loose ball into the net for an equaliser. And in another set piece three minutes later to the right of the D, the Englishman rolled it to the Brazilian, who stopped the ball for Becks to curl a beauty into the top corner from just outside the box. Lovely.

23. AC Milan vs Genoa (2009)

David Beckham celebrates with his AC Milan team-mates after scoring a free-kick against Genoa in 2009.

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During his impressive career, David Beckham scored free-kicks for all of his clubs except Paris Saint-Germain, with set-piece strikes for Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and even on loan at Preston North End in the early years.

In two short spells at AC Milan, Beckham netted only once with a free-kick. It came in a 1-1 draw at home to Genoa in January 2009, when the former England captain curled a shot around a two-man wall from a tight angle on the left and inside the near post as goalkeeper Rubinho ended up in a heap in the back of the net.

22. Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United (2001)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for Manchester United against Blackburn in August 2001.

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David Beckham had scored an own goal in the first half away to Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United were trailing 2-1 in the latter stages at Ewood Park.

Some quick thinking from the midfielder rescued a point for the Red Devils. While Blackburn were trying to organise their defensive wall at a free-kick, Beckham spotted Brad Friedel off his line and chipped the ball over the American goalkeeper from 35 yards. Genius.

21. Los Angeles Galaxy vs Vancouver Whitecaps (2012)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for La Galaxy against Vancouver in 2012.

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The last one in a wonderful career and, of course, it was a blockbuster. It came for LA Galaxy against Vancouver Whitecaps on September 2nd, 2012.

Slightly left of centre, 25 yards out, Beckham hits a shot which flies over the defender on the post and into the top corner with the goalkeeper unable to react. Sixteen years of scoring these, but it never did get old.

20. Southampton vs Manchester United (1996)

A young David Beckham (right) in action for Manchester United against Southampton in 1996.

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Most Manchester United fans will want to forget their team's 6-3 loss at Southampton in 1996. However, it was also the day that David Beckham scored his first free-kick for the club.

United were 2-0 down when they won a free-kick just outside the area on the right side of the D. Beckham stepped up, beat the goalkeeper and also the player on the line as he found the top corner with a sweet strike at The Dell. The first of many, despite defeat that day.

19. Southampton vs Manchester United (2000)

David Beckham celebrates with the Manchester United fans after scoring against Southampton in 2000.

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David Beckham scored another free-kick at The Dell in 2000 and this time, Manchester United came away from Southampton with a 3-1 win.

Some 25 yards out and to the left of the D, Beckham hit a fierce free-kick which flew over goalkeeper Neil Moss and into the top corner of the net. Unstoppable.

18. Manchester United vs Brondby (1998)

David Beckham takes a corner for Manchester United against Brondby in the Champions League in 1998.

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Manchester United beat Brondy 5-0 with five different scorers at Old Trafford in November 1998 and David Beckham set the ball rolling with a fantastic free-kick.

With just six minutes played, United won a free-kick over 30 yards out and quite a way over to the left. But Beckham found an angle, curling a venomous shot which dipped and bounced just as it flew in at the goalkeeper's near post. Sensational.

17. Los Angeles Galaxy vs Barcelona (2009)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for LA Galaxy in a friendly against Barcelona in 2009.

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It may have only been a friendly, but David Beckham's free-kick for LA Galaxy against Barcelona in 2009 was an unbelievable strike.

From fully 30 yards out, Beckham hit a right-footed curler which cleared the wall and swung away from goalkeeper Jose Pinto on its way into the corner of the net. The European champions went on to win the game 2-1.

16. Manchester United vs Nantes (2002)

David Beckham celebrates with Juan Sebastian Veron after scoring for Manchester United against Nantes in 2002.

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Nantes briefly led against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League in February 2002, but their celebrations did not last long.

A minute after their goal, David Beckham dispatched a brilliant free-kick from the left side which flew into the corner. Goalkeeper Mickael Landreau got a slight touch with a despairing dive, but there was no stopping the midfielder's effort and United went on to win 5-1.

15. West Ham vs Manchester United (2000)

David Beckham celebrates with Gary Neville after scoring for Manchester United against West Ham at Upton Park in 2000.

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David Beckham was hit with a barrage of abuse from West Ham fans in his first away game for Manchester United after his red card in England's last-16 defeat on penalties to Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

But the midfielder silenced Upton Park with a stunning strike the following season as he curled a brilliant free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards. Fantastic.

14. Manchester United vs Fulham (2002)

David Beckham celebrates with Ryan Giggs after scoring for Manchester United against Fulham in 2001.

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Against Fulham at Old Trafford in August 2002, David Beckham was making his 300th appearance for Manchester United in all competitions.

The midfielder marked the occasion with his 60th United goal as United twice came from behind to win 3-2. From a position to the left of centre, over 25 yards out, Beckham curled a shot in off the crossbar. Another free-kick, another wonder goal.

13. Real Madrid vs Rosenborg (2005)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring for Real Madrid against Rosenborg in the Champions League in 2005.

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After assisting Jonathan Woodgate and Ivan Helguera earlier in the game, David Beckham struck a late free-kick as Real Madrid thrashed Rosenborg 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu in October 2005.

The former England captain curled the ball over the wall and into the corner from a position right of centre, around 25 yards out. The pick of his free-kick goals for Los Blancos.

12. England vs Mexico (2001)

David Beckham scores a free-kick against Mexico in a 4-0 win for England in 2001.

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England thrashed Mexico 4-0 in a friendly at Pride Park in 2001 and David Beckham added another special strike to his collection.

After goals from Paul Scholes and Robbie Fowler in the opening 15 minutes, Becks curled a free-kick into the corner from 30 yards out left of centre, giving goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez no chance. Magical.

11. Manchester United vs West Ham (2000)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for Manchester United against West Ham in 2000.

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Paul Scholes scored four as Manchester United thrashed West Ham 7-1 at Old Trafford in April 2000.

David Beckham netted United's sixth of the afternoon, crashing a powerful free-kick from a central position almost 30 yards out in off the crossbar for added effect. Glorious.

10. Manchester United vs Tottenham (1997)

Manchester United's David Beckham hits a free-kick against Tottenham in 2000.

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David Beckham scored some bangers against Tottenham over the years, with a number of his most memorable strikes coming against Spurs.

Those include his first-ever free-kick goal at Old Trafford. It came in the FA Cup in January 1997. Beckham, left of centre and 30 yards from goal, curled a dipping effort which flew into the corner before goalkeeper Ian Walker could even move. An incredible strike – and the first of many in front of his own fans.

9. Manchester United vs Zalaegerszeg (2002)

David Beckham celebrates after scoring for Manchester United against Zalaegerszeg at Old Trafford in 2002.

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After finishing third in the Premier League in 2001/02, Manchester United faced the unusual prospect of a Champions League qualifying round early in the next season.

The Red Devils lost 1-0 away to Hungarian side Zalaegerszeg, but found things much easier at home in a 5-0 win at Old Trafford. David Beckham was still complaining about something as he prepared to take his free-kick after 15 minutes, but smashed his effort into the top corner from 30 yards out. Unbelievable strike.

8. England vs Colombia (1998)

David Beckham scores from a free-kick for England against Colombia at the 1998 World Cup in France.

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There was a clamour from fans and the media for David Beckham to start for England after he was left on the bench for the opening two games of the 1998 World Cup.

Handed a place in the XI by manager Glenn Hoddle for the crunch clash with Colombia, he didn't disappoint, curling a wonderful free-kick over the wall and into the corner past goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon to net his first England goal. Anguish and abuse would follow as Beckham was sent off against Argentina in the Three Lions' last-16 exit, but this was a moment of pure joy.

7. Manchester United vs Everton (2003)

David Beckham celebrates with Roy Keane after scoring against Everton in his last match for Manchester United in 2003.

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This one was not only a special strike, but also David Beckham's last goal for Manchester United – in his final game for the Red Devils in 2003.

United, already champions, came from a goal down to win 2-1 at Goodison and Beckham beat Richard Wright with a wonderful curler from right to left when the Everton goalkeeper might have been expecting a cross or a shot to his other post. A fitting finale for Becks, who left for Real Madrid in the summer.

6. Manchester United vs Barcelona (1998)

David Beckham in action for Manchester United against Barcelona in the Champions League in 1998.

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Manchester United's 1998/99 season ended in spectacular style as Sir Alex Ferguson's side claimed a historic treble, but there were memorable moments throughout the campaign.

United played out two entertaining 3-3 draws with Barcelona in the Champions League group stages and in the game at Old Trafford, David Beckham curled home a beauty into the corner from almost 30 yards out. One of his best.

5. Liverpool vs Manchester United (1997)

Manchester United's David Beckham hits a free-kick against Liverpool at Anfield in 2001.

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With the scores level between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in a Premier League game in December 1997 and 70 minutes on the clock, David Beckham won a free-kick on the right of the D.

From 20 yards out, the England midfielder crashed an unstoppable effort in off the crossbar with David James well beaten and ran off in joyous celebration. United went on to win 3-1 against their fierce rivals.

4. Manchester United vs Aston Villa (1999)

David Beckham celebrates with the Manchester United fans after scoring a free-kick against Aston Villa in May 1999.

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David Beckham's goals and assists late in the season were absolutely key in Manchester United's treble triumph in 1998/99.

United won the Premier League by just a point from Arsenal and as well as scoring on the final day versus Tottenham, Beckham struck this unbelievable free-kick against Aston Villa to seal a 2-1 win in May. With goalkeeper Michael Oakes either expecting a cross or a shot to his left as Beckham stood 30 yards out and to the right, the midfielder curled one into the other corner instead. Stunning.

3. Manchester United vs Real Madrid (2003)

David Beckham scores from a free-kick for Manchester United against Real Madrid in the Champions League in 2003.

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David Beckham was left on the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson for Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid in 2003 – and he was fuming.

The midfielder came on in the second half and curled a beauty of a free-kick past Iker Casillas and in off the underside of the bar. United lost 6-5 on aggregate, but Beckham had proved his worth with two goals that night. He moved to Madrid in the summer.

2. Manchester City vs Manchester United (2000)

David Beckham scores a free-kick for Manchester United against rivals Manchester City at Maine Road in 2000.

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Away to Manchester City at their old Maine Road ground, David Beckham stepped up to hit an absolute blockbuster to win the derby in November 2000.

Just a couple of minutes into the game, the midfielder struck a 30-yard free-kick from just right of centre which flew into the top corner and gave City goalkeeper Nicky Weaver no chance. A special strike.

1. England vs Greece (2001)

David Beckham celebrates in front of the England fans at Old Trafford after scoring against Greece in 2001.

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It had to be this one. Aesthetically, this free-kick may be similar to a few of the others on the list, but the moment and the context make it absolutely iconic.

With England staring at a 2-1 defeat to Greece and facing a tricky play-off against Ukraine to qualify for the 2002 World Cup, Beckham stepped up and curled home a beauty from over 30 yards out to seal an automatic spot at Japan and Korea. It was also redemption after his red card in 1998. In the 93rd minute. And at Old Trafford too. A wonderful moment.

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