David Beckham Biography

David Beckham Biography on Monsters and Critics

Summary

"David Robert Joseph Beckham", OBE (born 2 May 1975) is an English professional football (soccer) midfielder who plays for and captains Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. He is also currently a member of the England national team.

He has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year , and as recently as 2004 was the world's highest-paid footballer. He was Google's most searched of all sports topics in both 2003 and 2004. Such global recognition has made him an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon.

Beckham was captain of England from 15 November 2000 to 2 July 2006. He made 58 appearances as captain, and ended his tenure in that role after the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals. He continued to make contributions for the England national team in 2007 competitions.

Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premiership title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons. In his final season, Real clinched the La Liga title (Beckham's only major trophy with the club) in the final game of the season.

In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He played his final match with Real on 17 June, after which the team was awarded the 2006-07 La Liga championship.

Beckham's new contract with the Galaxy, effective 1 July 2007, gave him the highest salary of any MLS player in history. He debuted for the team on 21 July in a friendly versus Chelsea FC at the Home Depot Center, and on 15 August, he had his first start with the team, scoring his first goal and first assist in the 2007 SuperLiga semi-final. His first league start then came on 18 August, where he recorded two more assists against the New York Red Bulls in front of a record crowd at Giants Stadium.

Childhood and early career

Beckham was born in Leytonstone, London, England; the son of David Edward Alan 'Ted' Beckham, a kitchen fitter and Manchester United fan, and Sandra Georgina West, a hairdresser. He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford as a child. He attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School as a child. His mother's family is Jewish, and Beckham has referred to himself as 'half Jewish' and spoken of the influence the religion has had on him, although he is not known to practice Judaism or any other faith. In his book "Both Feet on the Ground", he stated that growing up he always attended church with his parents and sisters.

His parents were fanatical Manchester United supporters who would frequently travel to Old Trafford from London to attend Manchester United's home matches. David inherited his parents' love of Manchester United and his main sporting passion was football. He attended one of Bobby Charlton's football schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona, as part of a talent competition. As a child he played for a local youth team called the Ridgeway Rovers - coached by his father, Stuart Underwood and Steve Kirby.

He was a Manchester United mascot for a match against West Ham United in 1986. Young Beckham had trials with his local club Leyton Orient, Norwich City and attended Tottenham Hotspur's, which was the first club he played for, school of excellence. During a two-year period in which he played for Brimsdown Rovers' youth team, he was named Under-15 Player of the Year in 1990. He also attended Bradenton Preparatory Academy, but signed schoolboy forms at Manchester United on his fourteenth birthday, and subsequently signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 July 1991.

Manchester United (1993-2003)

He was part of a group of young players at the club who guided the club to win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992, with Beckham scoring in the second leg of the final against Crystal Palace. He made his first appearance for United's first-team that year, as a substitute in a League Cup match against Brighton & Hove Albion, and signed his first professional contract shortly afterwards. United reached the final of the Youth Cup again the following year, with Beckham playing in their defeat by Leeds United, and he won another medal in 1994 when the club's reserve team won their league.

He went to Preston North End on loan in the 1994-95 season to get some first team experience, then made his first Premier League appearance for Manchester United on 2 April, 1995, in a goalless draw against Leeds United.

United manager Alex Ferguson had a great deal of confidence in the club's young players. When three of his first-team players left the club at the end of the 1994-95 season, his decision to let youth team players replace them instead of buying players from other clubs, drew a great deal of criticism. The criticism increased when United started the season with a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa, with Beckham scoring United's only goal of the game; however, United won their next five matches and the young players performed well. Beckham became a regular player on the team and helped them to win the Premiership and FA Cup double that season, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Chelsea and also taking the corner that Éric Cantona scored from in the FA Cup Final. Despite playing regularly for Manchester United, Beckham did not break into the England squad before Euro 96.

At the beginning of the 96/97 season David Beckham was given the number 10 shirt that was last worn by Mark Hughes. In August 1996, Beckham became something of a household name when he scored a spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United leading 2–0, Beckham noticed that Wimbledon's goalkeeper Neil Sullivan was standing a long way out of his goal, and hit a shot from the halfway line that floated over the goalkeeper and into the net.

With Eric Cantona retiring at the end of the 96/97 season, this left the coveted number 7 shirt free, and with Teddy Sheringham arriving from Tottenham Hotspur, Beckham left his number 10 shirt for Sheringham and picked up the number 7 jersey. Some fans had felt the number 7 shirt should be retired after Cantona had himself retired. United started the 1997-98 season well, but their performance deteriorated and the club finished the season in second place, behind Arsenal.

In the 1998-99 season, he was part of the United team that won the treble — Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a unique feat in English football. There had been speculation that the criticism that he had received after being sent off in the World Cup would lead to him leaving England, but he decided to stay at Manchester United.

To ensure they would win the league championship, United needed to win their final league match of the season, at home to Tottenham Hotspur, but Tottenham took an early lead in the match. Beckham scored the equaliser and United went on to win the match and the league.

Beckham played centre-midfield in United's FA Cup final win over Newcastle United and for the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, since United's first string centre-midfielders were suspended for the match. United were losing the match 1-0 at the end of normal time, but won the trophy by scoring two goals in injury time. Both of the goals came from corners taken by Beckham. Those kicks, coupled with great performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner up to Rivaldo for 1999's European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.

Despite Beckham's achievements in the 1998-99 season, he was still unpopular among some opposition fans and journalists, and he was criticised after being sent off for a deliberate foul in Manchester United's World Club Championship match against Necaxa. It was suggested in the press that his wife was a bad influence on him, and that it might be in United's interests to sell him, but his manager publicly backed him and he stayed at the club.

The relationship between Ferguson and Beckham began to deteriorate, possibly as a result of Beckham's fame and commitments away from football. In 2000, Beckham was given permission to miss training to look after his son Brooklyn, who had gastroenteritis, but Ferguson was furious when Victoria Beckham was photographed at a London Fashion Week event on the same night, claiming that Beckham would have been able to train if Victoria had looked after Brooklyn that day. He responded by fining Beckham the maximum amount that was permitted (two weeks' wages – then £50,000) and dropping him for a crucial match against United's rivals Leeds United. He later criticised Beckham for this in his autobiography, claiming he hadn't been 'fair to his team mates'. Beckham had a good season for his club, though, and helped United to win the Premier League by a record margin.

Following an injury early in the 2002-03 season, Beckham was unable to regain his place on the Manchester United team, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær having replaced him on the right side of midfield. His relationship with his manager deteriorated further on 15 February 2003 when, in the changing room following a defeat to Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson kicked a football boot that struck Beckham over the eye, causing a cut that required stitches. The incident led to a great deal of transfer speculation involving Beckham, with bookmakers offering odds on whether he or Ferguson would be first to leave the club. Although the team had started the season badly, their results improved greatly from December onwards and they won the league. He was still a first-choice player for England, however, and he was awarded an OBE for services to football on 13 June.

On 10 April 2002, Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruña, breaking the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. There was speculation in the British media that the injury might have been caused deliberately, as the player who had injured Beckham was Argentinean Aldo Duscher, and England and Argentina were due to meet in that year's World Cup. The injury prevented Beckham from playing for United for the rest of the season, but he signed a three-year contract in May, following months of negotiations with the club, mostly concerning extra payments for his image rights. The income from his new contract, and his many endorsement deals, made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.

During his 11-year stint at United, Beckham made 266 appearances for them and scored 61 goals. He won 6 Premiership titles, 2 FA Cup's, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 Intercontinental Cup and 1 FA Youth Cup with his time at United.

Real Madrid (2003-2007)

Manchester United had been keen to sell Beckham to Barcelona but he refused to go there, instead signing a four-year contract with Real Madrid, worth a potential ?35 million. The transfer was completed on 1 July 2003 and made him the third Englishman to play for the club after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman. It was speculated that Real's desire to sign him came from the merchandising opportunities he would bring as well as from his football ability. For example, Real Madrid shirts bearing his name and number sold out in Madrid on the day his transfer was completed and the club was expected to receive ?624,000 for the sale of the shirts. Although Beckham had worn the number seven shirt for Manchester United and England, he was unable to wear it at Madrid as Raúl had the right to wear it written into his contract. He decided to wear number 23 instead, citing his admiration of basketball player Michael Jordan, who also wore the number 23 shirt, as the reason behind his decision.

Real Madrid finished the season in fourth place, and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage. But, Beckham immediately became a favourite with the Real Madrid supporters, scoring five times in his first 16 matches (including scoring less than 3 minutes into his La Liga debut), but the team, whose club president expected them to win either the Spanish league or the Champions League each season, was not performing well. He had further problems in April 2004, when the British tabloid "News of the World" carried claims by his former personal assistant Rebecca Loos that he and Loos had had an extramarital affair. A week later, the Malaysian-born Australian model Sarah Marbeck claimed that she had slept with Beckham on two occasions. Beckham dismissed both accusations as 'ludicrous'.

In July 2004, while Beckham was in pre-season training in Spain, an intruder scaled a wall at the Beckhams' home while carrying a can of petrol. Victoria and their children were in the house at the time, but security guards apprehended the man before he reached the house. Beckham made more headlines on 9 October 2004 when he admitted intentionally fouling Ben Thatcher in an England match against Wales in order to get himself booked. Beckham was due to receive a one-match suspension for his next caution, and had picked up an injury, which he knew would keep him out of England's next match, so he deliberately fouled Thatcher in order to serve his suspension in a match that he would have had to miss anyway. The Football Association asked Beckham for an explanation of his actions and he admitted that he had 'made a mistake' and apologised.

Real Madrid finished second to Barcelona (with a 12 point gap) in the La Liga and only reaching the last sixteen in the Champions League after losing to Arsenal by one goal. Although there is the notable fact that Beckham led La Liga in assists for the season.

He was sent off shortly afterwards, this time in a league match for Real Madrid against Valencia CF. Having received a yellow card, he appeared to sarcastically applaud the referee and was given a second yellow card, causing an automatic dismissal, although the suspension was cancelled on appeal two days later. He was sent off for the third time that season on 3 December 2005 in a league match against Getafe.

During the season, Beckham established football academies in Los Angeles and east London and he was named a judge for the 2006 British Book Awards.

Real Madrid won their first Spanish La Liga title in 3 years because of their superior head-to-head record against Barcelona, giving Beckham his first title since he joined Real Madrid.

Initially out of favour with manager Fabio Capello, Beckham started only a few games at the beginning of the season, as Jose Antonio Reyes was normally preferred on the right wing. In the first nine matches Beckham started, Real lost seven.

On 10 January 2007, after prolonged contract negotiations, Real Madrid's sporting director Predrag Mijatovi? announced that Beckham would not remain at Real Madrid after the end of the season. However, he later claimed that he was mistranslated and that he actually said that Beckham's contract had not been renewed yet.

On 11 January 2007 Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy beginning 1 July 2007. On 13 January 2007 Fabio Capello said that Beckham had played his last game for Real Madrid, although he would continue to train with the team.

Capello backtracked on that statement and Beckham rejoined the team for their match against Real Sociedad on 10 February 2007 – he scored and Real Madrid won. In his final UEFA Champions League appearance, Real Madrid were knocked out of the competition (by the away goals rule) on 7 March 2007. Beckham had made a total of 103 appearances in the Champions League, the third highest number of any player at the time.

On 17 June 2007, the last day of the La Liga season, Beckham started in his final match for the club, a 3-1 win over Mallorca, which saw them clinch the title from Barcelona. Although he limped off the field and was replaced, his sub made two goals and the team won the season's La Liga title, their first since Beckham had signed with them. Although both finished level on points, Madrid took the title because of their superior head-to-head record, capping a remarkable six-month turnaround for Beckham.

A month after the conclusion of Beckham's Real career, Forbes magazine reported that he had been the party primarily responsible for the team's huge increase in merchandise sales, a total reported to top $600 million US during Beckham's four years at the club.

LA Galaxy (2007-present)

It was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that David Beckham would be leaving Real Madrid to join MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham said, 'After considering several options to stay in Madrid or join other major British and European teams, I have decided to join LA Galaxy.'

On 12 January, Beckham's official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. Via satellite from Spain, Beckham told reporters 'I'm coming there not to be a superstar. I'm coming there to be part of the team, to work hard and to hopefully win things. With me, it's about football. I'm coming there to make a difference. I'm coming there to play football... I'm not saying me sic coming over to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America. That would be difficult to achieve. Baseball, basketball, American football, they've been around. But I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could make a difference.'

On 26 June, his first major U.S. ad campaign since finishing with Real Madrid made its debut via the web. 'Futbol Meets Football' pairs him with the NFL's Reggie Bush in a 13-part video series, with additional television, radio, and online promotion by adidas planned throughout the summer season.

His new contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy took effect on 1 July, and on 13 July, he was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player in a ceremony at the Home Depot Center. 5000 invited season-ticket holders and hundreds of international media attended it. Beckham chose to wear number 23 (as he did while at Real Madrid), explaining it was because NBA legend Michael Jordan also wore 23. It was announced that Galaxy jersey sales had already reached a record figure of over 250,000 prior to this formal introduction.

Beckham was featured by the U.S. magazine "Sports Illustrated" for the first time as a Galaxy player and in his new uniform, on the cover of the 16 July 2007 edition, and was also given his own weekly TV series, 'David Beckham's Soccer USA' on Fox Soccer Channel.

ESPN produced a 30-second TV promo for Beckham's arrival: 'Hello, Goodbye' featuring a Son Volt cover of the Beatles composition of the same name, depicting European fans' farewells and Americans' anticipation.

The same network then featured him on the cover of the 30 July issue of "ESPN The Magazine".

He attended the MLS All-Star Game on 19 July in Denver, Colorado, and on 21 July, he made his Galaxy debut at the Home Depot Center, coming on in the 78th minute in a 1-0 loss to Chelsea F.C. in a match during the World Series of Football tournament. The match saw unprecedented TV coverage from ESPN, who used 19 cameras to cover it, including one trained only on Beckham, even when he was on the bench, and several used for interviewing and showing the many celebrities and dignitaries on hand, including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Beckham did not start the match, and spent just over 16 minutes on the field, at the end of the match. He exited with applause from the crowd and also shared a hug with the man who succeeded him as England captain and scored the winning goal that night, John Terry.

ESPN later announced that the TV audience for that match was five times the normal for an MLS match on their network, setting a network MLS record. In addition, Nielsen Media Research reported that it was the most watched TV program that night by young adult males across the U.S.

Beckham made his league début with the Galaxy on 9 August versus D.C. United. He did not start the match, but came on as a substitute in the second half in the 1-0 loss.

Beckham returned to the pitch the following week, again facing D.C. United, but this time in the SuperLiga semi-final match on 15 August. This game at the Home Depot Center, he had many firsts with the Galaxy; including his first start, and he was named the team captain. In the 18th minute, he received his first yellow card. He scored his first goal for the team, from a free kick, in the 27th minute. In the second half, he also made his first assist, for Landon Donovan. These two Galaxy goals gave the team a 2-0 victory, and a place in the inaugural North American SuperLiga Final versus CF Pachuca on 29 August.

His first start in a league game came on 18 August, in an away match against the New York Red Bulls in front of 66,237 spectators at a packed Giants Stadium. Within the first nine minutes of the game, the Galaxy scored two goals from set pieces, with Beckham assisting Carlos Pavón for both. Beckham made the two assists in a 5-4 loss, a match that saw the stadium's highest attendance ever for a regular season MLS game.

That Saturday match was to be the first of three consecutive games where he would play the full 90 minutes, and within one week's time. The following Wednesday, he played the entire match for England against Germany in London, and on the very next night, was in L.A. and played an entire regular-season match there for the Galaxy.

During the SuperLiga final match against Pachuca on 29 August, Beckham seriously injured his right knee in a challenge with Fernando Salazar in the 30th minute. The Galaxy went on to lose the match in penalties. An MRI scan the following day revealed that Beckham had sprained his medial collateral ligament (MCL) and that he would be out for six weeks. A Galaxy spokesman refuted an earlier report that Beckham had also undergone arthroscopic surgery. The news came as a massive blow to the struggling Galaxy, England, and Beckham, and he missed several key matches for the Galaxy and England. However, some believe that there may be a silver lining, as it will force Beckham to rest until his problematic left ankle is fully healed before returning to the pitch. On 3 October, Beckham returned to training with the club, and on 18 October returned to play in what was the final home match of the season at the Home Depot Center. He came on in the second half in the game against Red Bull New York, and it ended in a 1-1 draw(which was enough to give Galaxy a chance for the playoffs, with one match to go in the regular season). The Galaxy were officially eliminated from the playoffs on 21 October, in the final MLS match of the regular season, a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire. Beckham played as a second-half substitute in that match, bringing his season-totals with the Galaxy to; eight matches played (5 league games), one goal scored (Superliga semifinal), and three total assists.

On November 4, 2007, Beckham played with the Galaxy in a friendly charity match against Hollywood United, scoring twice in a 10-4 victory. The game raised money to be donated to American Red Cross and The Salvation Army to help aid those affected by Southern California wildfires.

Beckham is currently believed to be returning to England to maintain his fitness, training with Championship club Ipswich Town, which is in reach of his Hertfordshire home. The club played down the rumour, but have not ruled out such an offer.

International career (1994-present)

Beckham made his first appearance for the England national football team on 1 September 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova. He became an automatic first-choice player at United during the 1996-97 season, helping them to retain the Premier League championship, and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.

Beckham had played in all of England's qualifying matches for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and was part of the England squad at the World Cup finals in France, but the team's manager Glenn Hoddle publicly accused him of not concentrating on the tournament, and he did not start in either of England's first two matches. He was picked for their third match against Colombia and scored from a long-range free kick in a 2–0 victory, which was his first goal for England.

In the second round (last 16) of that competition, he received a red card in England's match against Argentina. Beckham, after having been fouled by Diego Simeone, kicked Simeone, striking him on the calf. Simeone later admitted to trying to get Beckham sent off by over-reacting to the kick and then, along with other members of his team, urging the referee to send Beckham off. The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Many supporters and journalists blamed him for England's elimination and he became the target of criticism and abuse, including the hanging of an effigy outside a London pub, and the "Daily Mirror" printing a dartboard with a picture of him centred on the bullseye. Beckham also received death threats after the World Cup.

The abuse that Beckham was receiving from English supporters peaked during England's 3–2 defeat by Portugal in Euro 2000, a match where Beckham set up two goals, when a group of England supporters taunted him throughout the match. Beckham responded with a one-fingered gesture and, while the gesture attracted some criticism, many of the newspapers that had previously encouraged his vilification asked their readers to stop abusing him.

On 15 November 2000, following Kevin Keegan's resignation as England manager in October, Beckham was promoted to team captain by the caretaker manager Peter Taylor, and then kept the role under new manager Sven-Göran Eriksson. He helped England to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Finals, with their performances including an impressive 5–1 victory over Germany in Munich. The final step in Beckham's conversion from villain to hero happened in England's 2–2 draw against Greece on 6 October, 2001. England needed to win or draw the match in order to qualify outright for the World Cup, but were losing 2–1 with little time remaining. The rest of the England team were playing relatively poorly, and it was Beckham's inspirational performance that lifted his team mates. When Teddy Sheringham was fouled some eight yards outside the Greek penalty area, England were awarded a free-kick and Beckham ensured England's qualification with a curling strike of the kind that had become his trademark. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001. He once again finished runner-up, to Luís Figo of Portugal, for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

He was partially fit by the time of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden. Beckham scored the winning goal of the match against Argentina with a penalty, causing Argentina to fail to qualify for the knockout stage. England were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Brazil. The following month, at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Beckham escorted Kirsty Howard as she presented the Jubilee Baton to the Queen.

Beckham played in all of England's matches at Euro 2004, but the tournament was a disappointment for him. He had a penalty saved in England's 2-1 defeat to France and missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter final against Portugal. England lost the shootout and went out of the competition.

Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in January 2005 and was involved in promoting London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. In October 2005, Beckham's sending off against Austria made him the first ever England captain to be sent off and the first (and only) player to be sent off twice while playing for England. He captained England for the 50th time in a friendly international against Argentina the following month.

In England's opening game against Paraguay on 10 June 2006 Beckham's free kick led to an own-goal by Carlos Gamarra, and England won 1-0. In England's next match, played against Trinidad and Tobago on 15 June 2006, Beckham's cross in the 83rd minute led to Peter Crouch's goal, which put England into the lead 1-0. Beckham gave another assist to Steven Gerrard. In the end they won 2-0. He was named Man-of-the-Match by tournament sponsor Budweiser for this game.

During England's second round match against Ecuador, Beckham scored from a free kick in the 59th minute, becoming the first ever English player to score in three World Cups, and giving England a 1-0 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. He was sick before the game and vomited several times as a result of dehydration and illness after he scored the winning goal.

In the quarter-final against Portugal, Beckham was substituted following an injury shortly after half time and the England team went on to lose the match on penalties (3-1), the score having been 0-0 after extra time. After his substitution, Beckham was visibly shaken and emotional for not being able to play, being in tears at one point.

A day after England were knocked out of the World Cup, an emotional Beckham made a statement in a news conference saying that he had stepped down as England captain, saying, 'It has been an honour and privilege to captain my country but, having been captain for 58 of my 95 games, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren'. (Beckham had actually won 94 caps up to that point.) He was succeeded by Chelsea captain John Terry.

Having stepped down as captain after the World Cup, Beckham was dropped completely from the England national team selected by new coach Steve McClaren on 11 August 2006. McClaren claimed that he was 'looking to go in a different direction' with the team, and that Beckham 'wasn't included within that'. McClaren said Beckham could be recalled in future. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kieran Richardson and the World Cup alternative to Beckham, Aaron Lennon, were all included, although McClaren eventually opted to employ Steven Gerrard in that role.

On 26 May 2007, Steve McClaren announced that Beckham would be recalled to the England squad for the first time since stepping down as their captain. Beckham started against Brazil in England's first match at the new Wembley Stadium and put in a positive performance. In the second half he set up England's goal converted by captain John Terry. It looked as though England would claim victory over Brazil, but newcomer Diego equalised in the dying seconds. In England's next match, a Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia, Beckham sent two trademark assists for Michael Owen and Peter Crouch, helping England to prevail 3-0.

Beckham had assisted in three of England's four total goals in those two games, and he stated his desire to continue to play for England after his move to the MLS.

On 22 August 2007, Beckham played in a friendly for England against Germany, becoming the first ever to play for England while with a non-European club team.

Discipline

Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that he 'practiced with a discipline to achieve an accuracy that other players wouldn't care about'. He maintained his training routine at Real Madrid and even when his relationship with management was strained in early 2007, Ramon Calderon and Fabio Capello praised Beckham for maintaining his professionalism and commitment to the club.

Beckham was the first England player ever to collect two red cards and the first England captain to be sent off. Beckham's most notorious red card was during the 1998 FIFA World Cup: after Argentina's Diego Simeone had fouled him, Beckham lashed out with his leg and the Argentine fell. England went on to lose the game on penalties.

For Real Madrid he amassed 41 yellow cards and 4 red cards.

Beckham has also been described as a 'gentleman' when referring to his demeanour on the pitch. During his time as England captain, Beckham helped to keep Wayne Rooney's temper in check on several occasions.

Sporting titles and awards

Individual

PFA Young Player of the Year: 1997

Named in 1998 FIFA World Cup All-star team

FIFA World Player Of The Year Award finalist: 1999, 2001 (runner-up both years)

UEFA Club Player of the Year Winner: 1999

UEFA Club Player of the Year Finalist: 2001

BBC Sports Personality of the Year: 2001

Named in Pelé's FIFA 100 list of the greatest living players.

Club

Manchester United (1993-2003)

Premier League - Champion (6): 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01, 2002-03

Premier League - Runner Up: 1994-95, 1997-98

FA Cup Winner (2): 1996, 1999

FA Cup Runner Up: 1995

UEFA Champions League Winner: 1998-99

Intercontinental Cup: 1999

UEFA Super Cup Runner Up: 1999

Community Shield Winner (4): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997

Community Shield Runner Up: 1998, 2000, 2001

FA Youth Cup Winner: 1992

Real Madrid (2003-2007)

Primera División Champion (1): 2006-2007

Supercopa de España (1): 2003

LA Galaxy (2007-present)

SuperLiga Finalist: 2007

Special recognition beyond sport

Named Officer in the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003

Named United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF) 'Goodwill Ambassador' (2005-present)

Voted 'Britain's Greatest Ambassador' at the Greatest Britons 2007 awards

Named as one of "Time" magazine's 'Time 100 Heroes & Icons'

Listed by "Forbes" as number 15 on their 2007 list of most influential celebrities, 'The Celebrity 100'

Listed by "Arena" as number 1 on their 2007 list of the 40 most influential men under the age of 40 in the UK

Personal life

In 1997, Beckham started dating Victoria Adams, after she attended a Manchester United match. She was famously known as 'Posh Spice' of the pop music group Spice Girls, one of the world's top pop groups at the time, and his team was also enjoying a great run of success. Therefore, their relationship instantly attracted a great deal of media attention. The couple were dubbed 'Posh and Becks' by the media. He proposed to Victoria on 24 January 1998 in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England.

He married Adams at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland on 4 July 1999, and her name changed to Victoria Beckham. The wedding attracted tremendous media coverage. Beckham's teammate Gary Neville was the best man, and the couple's son Brooklyn, then four months old, was the ring bearer. The media were kept away from the ceremony, as the Beckhams had an exclusive deal with OK! Magazine, but newspapers were still able to obtain photographs showing them sitting on golden thrones. 437 staff were employed for the wedding reception, which was estimated to have cost £500,000.

In 1999, the Beckhams purchased their most famous home, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace, near London. It is estimated to be worth $15 million dollars. David and Victoria have three sons: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham (born March 4, 1999 in London, England), Romeo James Beckham (born September 1, 2002 in London, England), and Cruz David Beckham (born February 20, 2005 in Madrid, Spain - contrary to popular opinion, Cruz is not named for family friend Tom Cruise, but is Spanish for 'cross'). Both Brooklyn and Romeo's godfather is Elton John and godmother is Elizabeth Hurley. They have stated that they would like to have more children, especially a daughter.

In an April 2006 interview, Beckham was quoted in "The Daily Mail" that he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. In a television interview, Beckham used it as an example of how British Media would often exaggerate his comments, whether or not they were made in jest.

In April 2007, the family purchased their new Italian villa in Beverly Hills, California, to coincide with Beckham's transfer to the LA Galaxy in July. The mansion, priced at $22 million, is near the homes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and talk-show host Jay Leno, in an exclusive gated community in the hills overlooking the city.

Fame beyond football

Beckham's fame extends beyond the pitch; in much of the world his name is 'as instantly recognizable as that of multinational companies like Coca-Cola and IBM.'

Beckham's relationship and marriage to Victoria, who has been famous in her own right as part of the musical group Spice Girls, contributed to David's celebrity beyond football.

Beckham became known as a fashion plate, and together with Victoria, the couple became lucrative spokespeople sought after by clothing designers, health and fitness specialists, fashion magazines, perfume and cosmetics manufacturers, hair stylists, exercise promoters, and spa and recreation companies. One recent example is a new line of aftershave and fragrances called David Beckham Instinct.

In 2002 Beckham was hailed as the ultimate 'metrosexual' by the man who invented the term (... more) (... more) and has been described as such by scores of other articles since.

In 2007, the Beckhams were reportedly paid $13.7 million to launch this fragrance line in the US. In the world of fashion, David has already appeared on the covers of countless magazines. In 2007, U.S. covers have included the men's magazine Details, and with his wife for the August 2007 issue of W.

According to Google, 'David Beckham' was searched for more than any other sports topic on their site in 2003 and 2004.

Upon their arrival in Los Angeles on 12 July 2007, the night before Beckham's formal introduction, Los Angeles International Airport was packed with paparazzi and news reporters. On the next night, Victoria appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk about the their move to L.A., and presented Leno with a number 23 Galaxy jersey with his own name on the back. Victoria also talked about her NBC TV show 'Victoria Beckham: Coming To America.'

On 22 July, a huge private welcoming party was held for the couple at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. A-List celebrities attending included Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Oprah Winfrey.

Charitable work

Beckham has supported UNICEF since his days at Manchester United and in January 2005 the England Football Captain became a Goodwill Ambassador with a special focus on UNICEF's Sports for Development program.

On 17 January 2007, Rebecca Johnstone, a 19-year-old cancer patient in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada received a surprise phone call from Beckham. After the conversation, he sent her a Real Madrid Jersey with his signature on it. Rebecca passed away on 29 January 2007.

Beckham is currently a spokesman for Malaria No More, a New York-based non-profit launched in 2006. Malaria No More's mission is to end deaths caused by malaria in Africa. Beckham appears in a 2007 Public Service Announcement advertising the need for inexpensive bed nets. The TV spot currently airs in the U.S. on FOX Networks including Fox Soccer Channel, and can also be seen on YouTube.

Since he has joined MLS, he has been a very public advocate in the U.S. for related charities such as MLS W.O.R.K.S. On 17 August 2007, he conducted a youth clinic in New York City's Harlem, along with other current and former MLS players. This was in advance of his first New York City area match the following day against the Red Bulls. That team's Jozy Altidore and Juan Pablo Ángel also were with Beckham, teaching skills to disadvantaged youth to benefit FC Harlem Lions.

Appearances in films

"Bend It Like Beckham"

Beckham never personally appeared in the 2002 film "Bend It Like Beckham" except in archive footage. He and his wife wanted to make cameo appearances but scheduling proved difficult, so the director used lookalikes instead.

"The Goal! Trilogy"

'Beckham' makes a cameo appearance with Zidane and Raùl, in the 2005 film "Goal!: The Dream Begins". Lookalike Andy Harmer, who played Beckham in "Bend It...", also appears here in one party scene as Becks. Beckham himself appears in the sequel "Goal! 2: Living the Dream..." in a larger role, when the film's lead character gets transferred to Real Madrid. This time the story centers around the Real Madrid team, and besides Beckham, other real life Real Madrid players also appear on and off the pitch, alongside the fictional characters. Beckham also will appear in "Goal! 3", scheduled for release in 2008.

"Asterix at the Olympic Games (Astérix aux jeux olympiques)"

In his first feature film role playing someone other than himself, Beckham has a small part (again alongside former Real teammate Zidane) in this live-action French-language take on the comic, with a release scheduled to coincide with the 2008 Bejing Summer Olympic Games.

Despite moving to Los Angeles, Beckham has expressed no personal interest in pursuit of acting roles, saying he is too 'stiff'.

Records

Beckham captained England 58 times during his tenure as England captain, one of the most in England's history.

With his free kick goal against Ecuador in the second round of the 2006 World Cup, Beckham gained membership into two of football's most exclusive clubs: he became the only English player — and the 21st player regardless of nationality — to score in three world cups. Real Madrid team-mate Raùl also achieved this feat a few days earlier. It also made him only the fifth player in World Cup history to score twice from direct free kicks; the other four were Pelé, Rivelino, Teófilo Cubillas and Bernard Genghini (Beckham had previously scored this way against Colombia in the first round of the 1998 World Cup). All three goals were against South American teams (Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador) and from set pieces (the two aforementioned free kicks and a penalty against Argentina).

Tattoos

Beckham has many tattoos on his body, one of which is the name of his wife Victoria, written in Hindi, because Beckham thought it would be 'tacky' to have it in English. The tattoo is misspelled, however, so the tattoo actually reads 'Vhictoria' rather than 'Victoria'. Another tattoo, written in Hebrew reads ??? ????? ????? ?? ???? ???????, 'I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine, that shepherds among the lilies.' This is from the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible, and a popular Jewish paean to fidelity. The problem is that the word 'beloved? in Biblical Hebrew is a term of endearment for a man (boyfriend), not for a woman. Beckham has also been ridiculed in the press for looking like a 'Hell's Angel biker' and a 'football yob' due to his ever-expanding number of tattoos, their design and location.

A chronology of Beckham's tattoos includes:

April 1999 - Son Brooklyn's name on his back.

April 1999 - An angel on his back.

2000 - Hindi 'Victoria' design on his left arm.

April 2002 - Roman numeral VII on right forearm

May 2003 - Latin phrase 'Perfectio In Spiritu', meaning 'Spiritual Perfection', on his right arm

May 2003 - More Latin, 'Ut Amem Et Foveam' or 'So That I Love And Cherish', on his left arm.

2003 - Romeo's name on his back.

2003 - Classical art design on his right shoulder.

2004 - Winged cross on his neck.

2004 - Angel with motto 'In The Face of Adversity' on right arm.

Mar 2005 - Cruz's name on his back.

June 2006 - Second angel and clouds added to right arm and shoulder.

External links

(The Official David Beckham Website)

(The David Beckham Academy)

(Tactical Profile) at (Football-Lineups.com)

(Profile on Manchester United Legends)

('Futbol Meets Football' adidas official video site)

('David Beckham's Soccer USA' TV series official video site)

(Complete post-match press conference following MLS debut on 8/9/07/) at AOL Video

Articles

(On the Beckham Watch...) "18 August 2007"

(L.A. Rides Beckham Brilliance past D.C.) "15 August 2007"

(Beckham Makes Galaxy regular-season debut) "9 August 2007"

(Start of Something Big) "22 July 2007"

(Beckham all the talk at MLS All-Star game) "19 July 2007"

(Hollywood breathlessly awaits Beckhams) "19 July 2007"

(Fox TV announces new series 'David Beckham's Soccer USA') "18 July 2007"

(L.A. the spot for family man Beckham) "15 July 2007"

(MLS Behind the Net...video) "13 July 2007"

(Becks and Bucks) at Forbes.com "6 July 2007"

(Brand It Like Beckham) at CNNMoney.com "6 July 2007"

(Beckham Advertising Blitz about to Begin) "24 June 2007"

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Credit

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about David Beckham.