Beckham must think it's all over as he fails to make list of all-time greats

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The Independent Online

He is a global brand worth an estimated £65m and Britain's most famous footballer. But as an all-time sporting great, David Beckham has been kicked into touch. The Real Madrid star, who has talked of seeing out his playing days in the US, has failed to make the shortlist in a bid to find the world's greatest ever player.

He is a global brand worth an estimated £65m and Britain's most famous footballer. But as an all-time sporting great, David Beckham has been kicked into touch. The Real Madrid star, who has talked of seeing out his playing days in the US, has failed to make the shortlist in a bid to find the world's greatest ever player.

Another absentee from the list of 10, to be unveiled in a new Sky One series tonight, is George Best, the wayward star who retired from the top-flight game in his late 20s but was an icon to a generation.

Pele and Diego Maradona are known to have been on the list, which is set to generate hours of debate in pubs across Britain. Viewers will be asked to choose the player they think is the greatest ever.

Just one contemporary star has made the top 10, understood to be French maestro Zinedine Zidane, Beckham's Real team-mate, who grabbed two of the three goals during France's 1998 World Cup win.

A panel featuring the ex-England manager Graham Taylor, the former Liverpool and England ace Phil Thompson and the World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton compiled the shortlist.

More than half of the players are European and three of them are British. They could include Paul Gascoigne, Bobby Moore, Gary Lineker or Sir Stanley Matthews. Those definitely not on the list, drawn up for The World's Greatest Sporting Legend, hosted by Sir David Frost and Des Lynam, include Kevin Keegan, Kenny Dalglish and Sir Tom Finney.

Sir Bobby said the decision-making process had been tough: "In selecting a top 10, it's often not so much about who you include, but who you are forced to leave out."

Taylor said Best's decision to retire early and his lack of international experience counted against him. "When you are talking about world legends it's hard to put anyone in the top 10 who was unable to perform at international level," he said.

'The World's Greatest Sporting Legend' is at 8pm tonight on Sky One

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