The broadcaster and ex-Three Lions star squared off over the legacy of another icon, whose reputation as a modern great has been well-honed
David Beckham proved the flashpoint for a Twitter spat between Gary Lineker and Piers Morgan this week, after the latter claimed the ex-England international was the “most overrated player in history”.
The former Manchester United midfielder, who retired in 2013, won league titles in four different countries and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Three Lions players of all-time.
Yet his achievements count for nothing according to divisive broadcaster Morgan, whose reductive claims about the ex-Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star stoked a passionate defence from another England stalwart in the shape of Lineker, with whom he shares an apparent love-hate relationship.
Morgan initially fanned opinion when posting an image of NFL and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr amid the latters triumph at Super Bowl LVI, captioned: “Great to watch a Beckham who can actually play football…”
Linekers initial response chided the former for his comments, before Morgan fired back, adding: “You might want to suck up to him, for whatever reason, but Beckham was the most overrated player in history. Wouldnt have got onto the Arsenal Invincibles bench.”
His assessment was countered by Lineker once more, who highlighted Beckhams honour roll, stating: “6 Premier Leagues, 2 FA Cups, 1 Champions League, 1 La Liga, 1 Ligue, 1 Ballon d’Or runner up. 115 caps for England, 59 as captain. One of the best crossers of the ball the game has ever seen. Yeah, overrated.”
6 Premier Leagues, 2 FA Cups, 1 Champions League, 1 La Liga, 1 Ligue 1. Balon d’Or runner up. 115 caps for England, 59 as captain. One of the best crossers of the ball the game has ever seen. Yeah, overrated. ????????♂️ https://t.co/cWDUGJe3sT
The pair continued to trade subsequent barbs, sparring on both Beckhams reputation next to that of Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as Linekers own storied career, during which the former England man was the Mexico 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner and a European victor in club competition with Barcelona.
While merely speculative, it seems foolish to suggest that Beckham would not have been good enough for Arsene Wengers Invincibles squad had he played for Arsenal rather than Manchester United.
His efforts helped solidify the Sir Alex Ferguson era as one of the most successful modern dynasties of English football, winning six Premier League titles in an eight-season stretch between 1995 and 2003.
A Ballon dOr runner-up in 1999 – the year that he helped the Red Devils to a European treble – he subsequently won titles in La Liga with Real Madrid, MLS with LA Galaxy and Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, where he finished his career.