The stats that show David Beckham's worth ON the football field...

... rather than off of it. It is often considered that after leaving Manchester United, David Beckham was only ever signed as a business decision. But his vital statistics beg to differ.

What is with all the retirements at the moment? First we lost Sir Alex Ferguson then Rio Ferdinand announced he was calling time on his international career.

Now the moment many have been dreading for years has come; David Beckham has retired from football.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy and AC Milan midfielder has decided he will call time on his professional career after deciding to go out on a high with a French championship at Paris Saint-Germain.

The former England captain has had one of the most public and adored football careers of all time and criticism was often laid at his door that he was not in fact any good at football.

Many labelled him over-rated and that he was only ever signed as a marketing tool. There is certainly some element of truth in that but the reality is he brought both a marketable commodity and a fantastic football talent in equal measure.

Sure you rarely saw him burn his man for pace or pull out a step-over and take his player on. He was never that sort of player. But as Roy Keane bleated on about the other day during the Europa League coverage the most important players are the ones that can affect a game.

Nobody can say Beckham never did this. Whether it was a teasing assist from a free-kick or corner; or one of his trademark free-kicks Beckham more often or not found his way into the vital statistics at the end of a game.

Don’t believe me? Then check out the statistics courtesy of our old friend Opta Joe on Twitter:

On average Beckham had a record of having a direct influence on a goal scored at a rate of almost once every other game.

That is impressive and if it wasn’t Beckham people would stand up and take notice.

For everything Beckham brought to the game and will continue to do as an ambassador for the game it is important to not forget one thing.

Beckham was a footballer first and a personality second.

images: © NathanF

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