(above - King David)
At least today, the era of the beloved David Beckham, the King of Soccer, is dead. Last week, in the European Champions League, he came home to play against his first club and first love, Manchester United, to what now looks tragically like adieu. Four days later, the arrow struck, and like Achilles, Beckham's weakness was exposed. He was taken off to meet his Soccer Maker. His bruised and battered face in his final moments for fashionable Milan gave word that his battle was over, and the gospel writers could now get to work on penning the myth for future generations.
So let us not think of miracles. Beckham was the King of Football's Promised Land. He was marked with the tattoos of wealth and riches, a life of spice, and a gem of profession. His fellow players worshiped his power because he stretched beyond the elastic of soccer. He posed for underwear adverts. He spent much of his spare time as an evangelist for promise. Because Beckham was not the best, he could not let his feet do all of the talking. And that's why millions liked him, not for his goals, but for his brief moments of inspiration that gave forth to a vital contribution. He used his kick to sling shots and fell opponents. Beckham was a layer of goals, the temple builder; he had a foot that made.
The raising of Lazarus is a tough act to follow. And even if a hobbling Beckhamite figure returns from the wilderness in a year to run up and down the field for a second rate team, it will be a ghost, and a horrible death rattle. Better that he remains free from this kind of purgatory. Let him wander as a spirit of the game. The role of ambassador, statesman, awaits the man. But no more will he bend it like Beckham.
Alan Black is the co-author of The Glorious World Cup, published on May 4 by NAL/Penguin Books. www.thegloriousworldcup.com