Opinion Brief

Did David Beckham fake his Pepsi ad soccer stunt?

The British sports icon is famous for scoring goals from unlikely positions on the field. But is he this scarily accurate?

The video: A Diet Pepsi commercial shows David Beckham kicking soccer balls into faraway garbage cans, but skeptics say the footage must be some kind of high-tech fake. In the 69-second-long clip (see it below), a barefoot Beckham casually dribbles a ball on a sunny California beach (while holding a can of Pepsi, naturally). A man behind the camera asks him whether he can hit three distant trash receptacles with three separate balls. Beckham takes him up on the challenge, and casually launches a series of booming kicks, all of which find their destination in spectacular fashion. The video has racked up over 2 million hits on YouTube; asked by reporters whether the footage was real, Beckham said, "Of course," adding, "I spent five or six hours on the beach so I had a lot of time to practice." Could he possibly be telling the truth?
The reaction: "If soccer was like this all the time, it might not only be the most popular sport in the world but America too," says Glen Levy at Time. Sadly, I've spent "far too much time watching Beckham break our hearts during international soccer matches to accept that this was on the level and not the result of some tremendous technical trickery." It doesn't matter if it's faked or not, says a blogger at The Coventry Telegraph. "I have neither the time nor inclination to debate or argue — because I want to watch that sweet footage one more time." Judge for yourself:

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