CARSON, Calif. – David Beckham claims he has rarely suffered from nerves, even before and during the biggest games of his career.
However, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder conceded that he will be filled with tension and trepidation Wednesday morning – from the comfort of his own couch.
At around 11:45 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, Beckham will plunk himself down in front of his television at his Beverly Hills home and barely move for the next two hours as Manchester United takes on Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final.
Beckham's love affair with United goes further back than his 12-year career at Old Trafford and stems from his father Ted's lifelong fascination with the club.
Ted would regularly take his son along on the 400-mile round trip from the family home in East London to Manchester for big matches, and his passion for the club rubbed off on young David.
Although he is not normally a big watcher of soccer games on TV, the 33-year-old midfielder will be transfixed by the most anticipated game of the year.
"Without a doubt I will be watching nervously," Beckham told Yahoo! Sports. "We have got a day off from training, so I will be enjoying that and sit in front of the television and hopefully watching Man United beat Chelsea.
"It will be an electric atmosphere and having two English teams in the European Cup final for the first time makes it extra special. I just hope United go and do it now."
It would be easy for Beckham to harbor regrets about moving to the United States and missing out on huge occasions such as this mouth-watering showpiece in Moscow. Yet he is not the sort to dwell on what might have been. He is fully focused on his twin goals of bringing success to the Galaxy and increasing the popularity of soccer in North America.
If his old colleagues like Gary Neville and Paul Scholes do manage to lift the trophy again after a gap of nine years, Beckham's emotions will be those of joy – not jealousy.
"I always think Man United deserve to win everything because I am a United fan," he said. "They have got a great team, with great players all the way through the team – not just their top players.
"There is an incredible team spirit which flows with the history of the club, and the fans deserve things like this because they support the team like no other around the world."
Beckham was a key part of the 1999 United team that won the Champions League final to complete a remarkable and unprecedented "treble" in English soccer of three major trophies in one season. His efforts in the closing minutes helped Sir Alex Ferguson's side erase Bayern Munich's 1-0 lead heading into injury time and capture the European title with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dramatic winner.
While he admits that his affinity with United makes him biased, Beckham believes the Red Devils do hold a psychological edge over Chelsea: Man U held off the Blues' late-season charge to raise its second straight Premiership trophy.
"What helps is when you have already got some silverware under your belt," Beckham said. "That really settles you going into a big game like this because the European Cup final is a huge game.
"They have got the confidence of winning the league. They have got the top spot which is a huge thing in England. They have got a big lift and I hope they go and take this as well."
- David Beckham
- Manchester United