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David Beckham's 10 greatest goals of all time

To mark David Beckham's 45th birthday, Sports Mole counts down the Manchester United, Real Madrid and England legend's 10 greatest ever goals.

As far as footballing superstars go, they do not get much bigger than David Beckham.

After breaking through at Manchester United, the free kick master went on to represent Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain during a distinguished career, in addition to making 115 appearances for his beloved England.

Beckham's standing as one of the most famous people on the planet can often detract from just how good a player he was; he won 10 league titles in four different countries, was an integral member of Manchester United's 1999 treble-winning team and was a runner-up in that year's Ballon d'Or voting.

The right midfielder scored 146 goals in 834 games for club and country throughout his career and, to mark his 45th birthday, Sports Mole has whittled them down to his 10 best.

10. Real Madrid (vs. Sevilla)

Spoiler alert: this will not be the last free kick you see in the top 10.

This effort against Sevilla from 2006 only makes it to number 10 as there is some doubt over whether he meant it. Beckham rarely misplaced crosses and so it is entirely possible he intended to pick out the top corner from such an impossible position, and if so then this goal probably deserves to be higher up the list.

However, that question mark over cross or shot hurts it in these overall rankings.

9. Real Madrid (vs. Osasuna)

We had to be fairly strict in the free kick stakes given how many Beckham scored during his career, and how similar many of them were.

This strike against Osasuna from 2004 stood out due to its distance from goal - it would be stretching it to say that he was still in 'David Beckham territory' as he lined it up, curling the ball past the keeper from all of 35 yards out, maybe more.

8. Manchester United (vs. Real Madrid)

Before scoring for Real Madrid, Beckham was scoring against them.

For all of his many qualities, being fleet of foot was not always one of them - that was usually Ryan Giggs's job on the other flank. However, on this occasion the future galactico danced his way into the box before applying a stunning finish right into the postage stamp of the top corner.

It was a first goal back for a United side that trailed 3-0 at home in the quarter-finals of the Champions League at the time but, despite Paul Scholes reducing the deficit further late on, the holders fell short and crashed out.

7. Real Madrid (vs. Albacete)

Allowing Beckham such time and space on the ball was just asking for trouble, and Albacete were duly punished in 2003.

The Englishman received the ball from Zinedine Zidane before picking out the top corner as though it was one of his trademark free kicks.

This stunning strike opened the scoring in a game Real Madrid went on to win 2-1.

6. Manchester United (vs. Tottenham Hotspur)

Beckham was not quite the global superstar he would become when this goal flew in during the 1996-97 campaign, but he was well on his way courtesy of efforts like this.

This was an important goal too, turning a 1-1 draw into a 2-1 win for Manchester United as they went on to win yet another Premier League title.

5. England (vs. Wales)

The first of Beckham's entries from his record-breaking England career, and arguably the most spectacular goal he scored for his country too - certainly from open play.

The skipper could not have picked out the far corner any more accurately as he made sure of the points for England against neighbours Wales during qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.

4. Manchester United (vs. West Ham United)

As well as his trademark free kicks, Beckham loved a lob and this was one of the best of the lot.

Seeing goalkeeper David James off his line, the United talisman lifted an inch-perfect first-time effort over the keeper and into the far corner - a goal of tremendous skill and style from an unlikely angle.

3. Manchester United (vs. Deportivo La Coruna)

Deportivo probably felt as though they were safe from even Beckham range when he collected the ball from Roy Keane in this 2001-02 Champions League quarter-final, but they were mistaken.

He took two touches to get the ball out of his feet and, just when the defenders had started to sense the danger, whipped a stunning 30-yard strike almost nonchalantly into the top corner.

The goal carried importance too, giving United the lead in the quarter-final as they eventually made it through to the last four, where they were beaten by Bayer Leverkusen.

2. England (vs. Greece)

Taken out of context there are probably better goals than this iconic strike in the top 10, but in terms of importance this is streets clear of any other Beckham goal.

England trailed Greece 2-1 at Old Trafford with time ticking past the 90 and Sven-Goran Eriksson's side needing at least a point to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Beckham had played like a man possessed throughout and saved his best for the very end, whipping a typical free kick into the top corner to send his club ground - and the entire country - into raptures.

The former skipper had plenty of great moments during his 115-cap international career, but this one tops the lot and confirmed his transition from national pariah in 1998 to national hero three years later.

1. Manchester United (vs. Wimbledon)

The goal that well and truly catapulted Beckham into the big time, and one of the most iconic Premier League goals of all time.

On the opening day of the 1996-97 campaign, a young Becks picked the ball up on the halfway line, looked up to spot Neil Sullivan out of goal and duly shot himself into English football folklore.

It is a goal which offered a glimpse into Beckham's prodigious talent and, as the earliest goal on this list, set the tone for every single strike which followed.

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28 Mar 1998: David Beckham of Manchester United stands with his arms outstretched during an FA Carling Premiership match against Wimbledon
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rhs 2.0
2Manchester CityMan City28183768313757
3Leicester CityLeicester29165858283053
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd29129844301445
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves29101364134743
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd28111073025543
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs29118104740741
11Crystal Palace29109102632-639
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2998122541-1635
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton29611123240-829
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2976163550-1527
19Aston Villa2874173456-2225
20Norwich CityNorwich2956182552-2721

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