Becks dominates UK headlines
London - Although David Beckham is far removed from his best days on the field, the football star-pop icon's injury still made headlines in British newspapers on Monday.
The 34-year-old Beckham injured his left Achilles' tendon late Sunday while playing in Italy for AC Milan, a setback that will almost definitely keep him out of England's team at this year's World Cup.
"David Beckham has fallen victim to the silent assassin of footballers, the snapped Achilles, the injury that occurs even when no opponent is close by, the incapacitation that brings curtains down on careers," Henry Winter wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"Even for those who felt his usefulness to the England national team had long gone, this is a desperately sad development."
Beckham has played in three previous World Cups for England, and the former captain was hoping to be the first player from his country to take part in a fourth - even if it would have been as a substitute rather than a starter.
"Although he may not always have started games, he's a fantastic option to have if things aren't going right and you need someone to get crosses over in the last 15 or 20 minutes of a game," former England coach Terry Venables told The Sun.
Beckham became a star on the football field when he played for Manchester United, helping the English team win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in 1999. Also during his years in Manchester, the midfielder married former "Spice Girls" singer Victoria Adams - aka "Posh Spice" - and became regular fodder for the British tabloids.
Through it all, he continued to be a factor on the field, spending four years with Real Madrid before moving to Major League Soccer and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007.
Although the MLS is seen as a minor league in Europe, Beckham was still able to make his 100 international appearance for England in March 2008. For the last two seasons, he has secured loan deals to AC Milan in the American offseason, helping him stay with the national team.
Still, it's been a long time since Beckham regularly scored from his swerving free kicks.
Neil Custis, writing for The Sun, said Beckham "was no longer the man who influenced games at the top level".
"There were doubts he would be in Fabio Capello's World Cup squad and it was also questionable he would have any influence over the tournament," Custis added. "Now he will not."
In The Independent, Sam Wallace was already looking past the Beckham saga and concentrating on what will benefit England in South Africa.
"If there was any consolation for Fabio Capello last night upon hearing the news that David Beckham had snapped his Achilles tendon," Wallace wrote, "then it was this: at least it was not Wayne Rooney".