David Beckham reflects on his ‘moment of madness’ red card vs Argentina

David Beckham has reflected on the red card that was seen and remembered around the world against Argentina in 1998, describing it as a ‘moment of madness’.

The England midfielder, then aged 23, saw red in the World Cup last 16 phases against the South American giants. He was sent off for kicking a grounded Diego Simeone.

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Glenn Hoddle’s side were eliminated from the tournament on penalties. Meanwhile, Beckham would become a figure of hatred within most sections of the British press, and fans across the country expressed their fury as well.

Throughout the following season, the Manchester United star was routinely booed by opposition supporters during matches. He was also subjected to death threats.

The Daily Mirror even printed a full-page dartboard in their newspaper, with Beckham as the bullseye.

The reaction to Beckham’s red card was brutal. It likely would have been even worse had it happened 20 years later.

David Beckham looks back at Argentina red card

There were some suggestions at the time that Beckham was frustrated due to not being selected in the opening two games of the 1998 World Cup by Glenn Hoddle. He did return to the side for the third game against Colombia, becoming a national hero by scoring a 30-yard free-kick. But everything then dramatically changed.

In an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap, Beckham was asked to reflect on the moment that is still remembered worldwide.

He explained: “I don’t remember going on to that pitch wanting to prove a point, or I was frustrated because I’d been left out of the first few games.

“It was just a moment that happened, where I reacted. It was just a moment of madness, really.

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“When I look back at my career, and I talk about regrets. I wish that would never have happened. But I look at the flipside – if it hadn’t have happened, I might not have had the career that I had. I might not have been as strong as I was after that time, to get through some of the stuff that I went through throughout my career.

“I turned it into a positive. But it’s one of those moments that, of course, you never want that to happen in a game.”

Beckham on reaction to his sending off

David Beckham
Image Credit: Getty

Beckham then opened up about his disappointment over how some of his teammates reacted to his red card in the dressing room.

“It’s probably harsh to say I still feel let down by that,” he began. “But I look back at the moment. We were young. Yes, I made a mistake. But there were certain people, I think, in teams and in football, that you expect to get behind you, and expect to support you no matter what.

“I think we always had that at United. And I felt, at the time, I felt let down. Actually, I didn’t know what to think, at that moment in time.

“I didn’t know what to think, what to expect, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I don’t think I’ve ever been as emotional as I was coming out of that ground and seeing my mum and dad. Yeah, I was uncontrollably sobbing. That was tough.

“I also felt that I’d let quite a lot of people down, but I didn’t even think and expect what was going to happen for the next few years after that. I knew it was going to be a tough moment, going back home. But I never expected it to be as bad as it was.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty