David Beckham has experienced both sports and life's highs and lows. Following "that red card" he became a scapegoat for everything that went wrong for England during the '98 World Cup.
Only someone of his grit, determination and passion for life and what he loves can achieve what he did the years after. He was an integral part of the Manchester United side which won the treble in '99 and scored one of the finest and probably most important free kicks in English football history to send England automatically through to the 2002 World Cup.
During that World Cup he scored the winning penalty against Argentina to beat them 1-0 in a group match. The celebrations which followed were breathtaking. Years of frustration and hurt were released with that celebration, which saw him kiss the badge while tears rolled down his face.
Controversy once again caught up with Beckham after he was found out about having an affair with Rebecca Loos who had been associated with the Beckham's during their time in Spain. This was a massive scandal and his marriage was in turmoil. The press were on his back more than ever and predictably, divorce rumours started circulating.
This seemed to take an effect on David's form as Real Madrid remained trophiless and England crashed out of Euro 2004 following a dreaded penalty shoot-out.
His wife, former spice girl Victoria, gave birth to a third son the year after and there were persistent rumours of Beckham seeing out his contract in Madrid and returning to England. This only turned out to be half true.
Late 2006 David Beckham confirmed he would leave Real Madrid at the end of the season on a free transfer. Fabio Capello, Real Madrid manager at the time was furious and demanded Beckham train on his own. Once again Beckham had hit rock bottom.
Injuries plagued him for sometime until he was recalled back into the Madrid squad. He played a huge part in bringing the La Liga title back to the Bernabeu.
Just before the end of the season, David Beckham confirmed he would sign for US Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy in a multi-million dollar move. Beckham mania was back and with a huge bang.
He follows the likes of Pele, Beckenbauer and Best into plying their trade in the USA. Putting him up their with the best, which is where he belongs.
Also Beckham is worldwide ambassador for the sport and has opened several footballing academies around the globe and regularly visits often.
So in conclusion, I hope this piece gives you an idea of just how much of a great sportsman David Beckham is and why he gets my vote for the best sportsman of the 21st Century.