David Beckham Retires – Third conditional

Finally, the golden boy of English football has retired from playing. But if we use some third conditional sentences, we can imagine a different past and how his life may have turned out in another way, if he had not done specific things at certain moments.There is a grammar table at the bottom of the page to help you understand ‘the impossible’ conditional.

David Beckham has retired from ‘the beautiful game’ and no matter what you think about his playing and his success as a advertising megastar, you surely can’t deny that he has had an amazing and unprecedented footballing career. As he said himself in a statement…
If you had told me as a young boy that I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy

Clearly, his best days are behind him, but somehow he has still managed to bow out at the top, whilst still playing at the highest level. When he was a teenager, he broke through on to the world stage when he scored an incredible goal from the halfway line. If he hadn’t scored that goal,
would he have become
a legend?

Since, then, you could say that he hasn’t put a foot wrong. However, there were some ups as well as downs, which have made it a bit of a roller coaster career in which he has gone from being the poster boy for English football all the way down to the bottom, too.
If he hadn’t been sent off in the World Cup against Argentina, then England might have won the match and gone on to be the world champions. That alone would have made his legacy all the more shiny. In fact, real success at international level is the only blemish on his record. However, when he was public enemy number 1 he had to do his talking on the football pitch and sort out his personality to get back in public favour. If he hadn’t worked hard, then maybe he wouldn’t have become England captain or the fantastic person that he is …. even though I don’t know him personally, apparently he’s very nice!

If he hadn’t acknowledged that he was too old to play football at 38, then he would have continued playing and perhaps he would have become an embarrassment and tarnished his reputation.

What do you think about this different idea about his past?
If he had married
a different Spice Girl like Geri Haliwell, he wouldn’t have modelled in a million advertisements. And just one last thing….
If Posh Spice, hadn’t married
David Beckham, she would have disappeared by now, wouldn’t she?

(BTW, this last sentence is a nice example of QUESTION TAG GRAMMAR)

Third Conditional English Grammar

The third conditional is like a dream, because it can NOT come true. We are thinking about how the past could have happened in a different way. But it is impossible to go back in time and change something in the past.

IF one thing (Condition) in the past HAD HAPPENED differently then another thing (result) also WOULD / COULD / MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED differently.

Here’s a news report about Beckham’s retirement that uses some of the advanced language from above…

Here’s some more Beckham posts you might like…

1. English Grammar Beckham style
2. Beckham speaks about the future
3. Playing with past tenses: Beckham baby part II
4. How do you pronounce -ed endings: Beckham baby part I


One last Becks video 🙂

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