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Tuesday, 25 January, 2000, 11:46 GMT
Beckham not good enough - Best

David Beckham: Target of scathing attack

Former Northern Ireland soccer great George Best has criticised the football skills of England and Manchester United midfielder David Beckham.

While attending the World Player of the Year awards ceremony in Brussels, Belfast-born Best delivered a scathing assessment of the current Old Trafford star.

Beckham finished in runner-up slot in FIFA's poll behind Brazilian Rivaldo and Best was nominated to accept the award on his behalf.

Barcelona's Rivaldo comprehensively beat the 27-year-old Manchester United and England midfielder into second place at a gala evening in Brussels.

The former Northern Ireland international showed little respect for the credentials of the current Old Trafford star.

He said: "Beckham - you can say he's got a good right foot but he's not got a left.

"Beckham didn't deserve to be elected best player in the world. When he can do something else apart from cross perhaps he will."

George Best: Accepted award on behalf of missing Beckham
Before the result was announced Best had been speaking in similar vein. He said: "He (Beckham) cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right."

Barcelona forward Rivaldo, already named European player of the year, polled 543 points compared to 194 for Beckham and 79 for Fiorentina's Argentinian marksman Gabriel Batistuta.

The short-listed trio were selected last month by 140 national team coaches from around the world.

Beckham, whose team-mates Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke were ninth and 10th respectively in the FIFA list, was absent from the ceremony because of his involvement in United's clash with Premiership title rivals Arsenal.

The midfielder's dismissal for a dangerous tackle on Jose Milian during the recent World Club Championship in Brazil is likely to have counted against him.

He has also been the focus of tabloid attention over the revelation by his Spice Girl wife, Victoria Adams, that he liked to borrow her underwear.
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