And that's the end of that, except for whether or not the guy decides to continue his tour of American and Canadian FieldTurf pitches this fall.
I think this was a godsend to the Beckham legend. By sparing Fabio Capello the trouble of cutting him, Beckham's hagiographers can now say he missed this year's World Cup because of injury instead of age.
Not all observers agreed - the Telegraph projected him onto the squad, while Paul Wilson's lament in the Guardian and Hugh McIlvanney's Joe Cole piece in the Times seemed to assume Beckham still had a roster spot.
If true, then Beckham's injury kept Capello from making a serious mistake, while allowing everyone involved to pretend that it wouldn't have been a mistake.
Late-game free kick specialist might have a certain appeal - it would have worked in MLS Cup, if Beckham hadn't started. But in an extra-time situation, burning a sub on a player who can't run anymore (well, now he really can't - you know what I mean), in the freaking World Cup? That would have been disastrous (or delightful, depending on who you were cheering for). I wouldn't even mind Sacha Kljestan's odds against beating Beckham on the run and getting a clear shot, because we've all seen him do it already. Imagine what an in-form professional on the international level would do.
And, because there's nothing like misfortune to bring on amnesia, let's remember just how destructive Beckham's World Cup aspirations have been in the past couple of years. In some way, his one-track quest against all odds to play in just one World Cup is admirable.
His unwillingness to do so while living up to his very lucrative MLS contracts wasn't so admirable, of course - he put himself ahead of his team. That's precisely the trait England did not need more of this summer, any more than it needed the Team Beckham Travelling Publicity Machine upstaging the guys who would actually play.
As far as whether it ends his career - well, there were two schools of thought regarding Beckham and MLS. There were those who believed that Beckham had nothing left to offer the Galaxy, MLS, or American soccer...and there were those who were mistaken. The fad has long since died out here, the MLS cities he hasn't played in yet won't need him to sell tickets, and the Team Beckham Travelling Publicity Machine at this point is only going to take spotlights and ink away from Landon Donovan. (Well, assuming the Galaxy don't sell him after the World Cup.)
The best part about this happy ending is that he and his fans can pretend it's really a tragedy. Which is fine - fans live for arguments like this. I can't prove that he would have been dead weight for England this summer...except based on the experience of having to watch the guy the past few years...free kick specialist? Dude was putting more bricks into walls than Pink Floyd...but then again, no one can prove that Beckham would have made a difference, either.
The only way this turns out bad for Beckham's image is if England wins the World Cup without him. I for one am not struck by the urgency of this possibility, posted betting odds notwithstanding. (The English public likes to bet on England? You don't say.)
I guess I can shed a tear over Beckham's dreams being ruined. But what about the Algerian who would have achieved immortality as the man who smoked Beckham like a herring to score the winning goal in the World Cup? Will no one weep for him?