London: David Beckham has revealed that the red card given to him during the 1998 World Cup and the reaction that followed still haunts him.
Following the high of his exquisite free-kick against Colombia, Beckham reacted angrily to a challenge from Argentina captain Diego Simeone and was dismissed by referee Kim Milton Nielsen.
He was vilified and opposing fans often booed and jeered his every touch during the 1998-99 Premiership season. It was a harsh lesson for Beckham to learn just as his career was blossoming.
The incident made headlines with some papers terming it as ‘10 Heroic Lions, One Stupid Boy’ and ‘You’re Just A Joke Becks’.
“It was humiliating”, he had later admitted.
Manchester United’s first away game of that season was at West Ham, where a Beckham effigy was seen dangling from a hangman’s noose and the United team coach was pelted with stones and beer glasses as fans vented their frustration, chanting “We hate Beckham” and “You let down your country” at the future England captain.
“I have nightmares about France 98,” the Daily Express quoted him as having said recently.
“It will always be with me,” he added.