Waddle branded Beckham - who has won 24 trophies in a glittering 20-year career - as "good but not great".
He told The Sun: "You can go down a list of footballers since the Premier League and I don't think Beckham would probably be in the first 1,000.
"I would say he has been a good player, I wouldn't put him down as a great."
Waddle added: "I think there have been a lot more talented players in the world, but he made the most of what he has got.
"He has got a terrific image and used it very well. He never had a trick, wasn't particularly quick, but he was very good at set-pieces and deliveries, he made chances and made goals and was fantastic for clubs.
"He said the right things, he sold shirts, he put money in the tills wherever he went and conducted himself well.
"As a player I would say he was a fantastic crosser of the ball, a great athlete.
"Now people will be talking about him and saying 'how great, how great'. I would say 'how good'."