David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE (pronounced IPA: /'b?k.?m/) (born 2 May
1975) is an English professional footballer who currently plays for Los Angeles
Galaxy and the England national football team. In addition to his success on the
pitch, Beckham has been recognised by Time magazine as one of 2004's Time 100
(Heroes & Icons), as well as an elite global advertising brand.
Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester
United, making his debut first-team appearance in 1992, at the age of 17. While
with Manchester United he played a key role in their dominance of the FA Premier
League in the 1990s and early 2000s, being pivotal in accomplishing The Treble
of the League, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League in 1999. He left the club to
become only the third Englishman to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, after Laurie
Cunningham and Steve McManaman, helping them to win the La Liga title in 2007.
Beckham was dropped from the England national team squad selected by coach Steve
McClaren on 11 August 2006, an exile that lasted nine international games, until
26 May 2007, when McClaren named him as one of the England squad for upcoming
games against Brazil and Estonia. Beckham assisted three of England's total of
four goals in those two games.
On 10 January 2007 Real Madrid Sporting Director Predrag Mijatovic announced
Beckham would leave the club when his contract expires in June 2007. On 11
January 2007, Beckham agreed to a move to the Major League Soccer (MLS) team Los
Angeles Galaxy on a five year contract commencing on 1 July 2007, after his deal
with Real Madrid expires.
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. His maternal grandfather, Joseph West, is Jewish, and Beckham
has spoken of the influence the religion has had on him but is not known to
practice Judaism or any other faith, though he stated in his book Both Feet on
the Ground that growing up he always attended church with his parents and
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 Manchester United's mascot for a match against West Ham United in 1986.
Young Beckham had trials with his local club, Leyton Orient, and attended
Tottenham Hotspur's, which was the first club he played for, school of
excellence. 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.
He was part of an exceptionally talented 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.
Becoming a first-team player
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. Still, Beckham's form
was not good enough to break into the England squad before Euro 96.
In August 1996, Beckham became something of a household name when he scored a
spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United ahead 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. Beckham was frequently mentioned in the press, and he 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
United started the 1997-98 season well, but their performance deteriorated when
several players got injured. They finished the season in second place, behind
World Cup 1998
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
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, appeared to kick out at Diego 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 and the incident is also the topic for his
Adidas advert. 
1998-99 season (the Treble)
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.
Throughout the season, Beckham was jeered by opposition supporters whenever he
touched the ball, but he consistently played well and his crossing provided a
significant number of goals for United's forwards Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.
United's supporters had mostly forgiven him for the problems he'd had with
England, and were frequently heard to chant "Argentina" in response to the other
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
Winning over the England fans
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 had two
assists, 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 teammates. 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
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 Argentinian 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.
World Cup 2002 and final season at United
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.
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.
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.
Beckham (right) and Zinedine Zidane at Real MadridManchester 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 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 were 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.
First season 2003-04
Beckham immediately became a favourite with the Real Madrid supporters, scoring
five times in his first 16 matches, 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".
Real Madrid finished the season in a disappointing fourth place, and were
knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage.
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 badly missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter final
against Portugal. England lost the shootout and went out of the competition.
Second season, 2004-05
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.
Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in January 2005 and was involved in
promoting London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Third season, 2005-06
Real Madrid had another disappointing season, finishing 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 a goal. Although there is the
notable fact that Beckham led La Liga in assists for the season.
Warming upIn 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. He was sent
off again 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
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.
Fourth season, 2006-07
Out of favour with manager Fabio Capello, Beckham started only a few games in
that season, normally as a substitute, as Jose Antonio Reyes was normally
preferred on the right wing. In the nine matches Beckham started, Real had lost
On 10 January 2007, after prolonged contract negotiations, Real Madrid's
sporting director Predrag Mijatovic 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
On 11 January 2007 Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play
for the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1 July 2007. The deal is worth $250 million over
the 5 years. 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 back-tracked on that statement and Beckham rejoined the team
for their match against Real Sociedad on 10 February 2007 – he scored and Real
Madrid won. However the next game at home against Real Betis ended up with
Beckham being shown a straight red card for a professional foul in the 90th
minute.But in the next UEFA Champions League match vs Bayern Munich, he carried
out two assists to help Real Madrid win by 3-2. If Beckham moves to Los Angeles
and transfers to the Galaxy as currently planned, this match would seem to mark
his final appearance in the UEFA Champions League as Real Madrid were knocked
out of the competition (by the away goals rule) at the conclusion of their
second leg away tie in Munich on 7 March 2007. He has made a total of 103
appearances in the Champions League, the third highest number of any player at
After his good performances for Real Madrid, Steve McClaren announced Beckham
could be recalled for England's two Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and
Andorra. However on 4 March 2007 Beckham damaged a ligament in his right knee
during a game between Real Madrid and Getafe CF. Following a cross his momentum
carried him into an advertising boarding along the touchline causing him to go
down. On 21 April 2007 he marked his return from injury by coming off the bench
to set up the winning goal for Sergio Ramos in a 2-1 victory over Valencia.
On 26 May 2007, Steve McClaren announced that Beckham would be recalled to the
England squad for the first time since relinquishing the captaincy after
England's exit from the 2006 World Cup. Beckham started against Brazil in
England's first match at the new Wembley and put in a positive performance and
had a first half free-kick just brush the post. However in the second half he
set up England's goal as he sent in a beautifully weighted cross to be converted
by captain John Terry. It looked as though England would claim victory over
Brazil however newcomer Diego equalised in the dying seconds. In next match vs
Estonia, Beckham sent two trademark assists for John Terry and Peter Crouch,
helping England to win 3-0 in the match.
On 17 June 2007, the last day of the La Liga season, Beckham was passed fit to
start in his last match for the club, a 3-1 win over Mallorca, which saw them
clinch the title from Barcelona. 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.
World Cup 2006
During the FIFA World Cup 2006, England were seen as potential winners by many,
but since the start of the competition the team had several slow paced matches
and Beckham's performance was criticised by the majority of the press and
public. However, many still considered Beckham's contribution to England
important as the team progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament.
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 ahead 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. The English
media criticised Beckham's performance in England's final Group B match against
Sweden on 20 June 2006, citing his apparent inability to take
the ball around players as an increasing hindrance to England's chances of
winning the World Cup.
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 finals stage of the World Cup 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 scores 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". Note that Beckham
had actually won 94 caps up to that point, an error on his part. He was then
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
There was talk that McClaren could recall Beckham after Aaron Lennon sustained
an injury in early September and Owen Hargreaves subsequently broke his
leg. However despite pressure from the media and high profile
sports figures Bobby Robson, Glenn Hoddle, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Hansen all
saying he should be in the England team, McClaren did not
recall Beckham. In December, 2006, McClaren suggested that Steven Gerrard had
supplanted Beckham's role in the team: "We all know about David Beckham and his
delivery from the right-hand side. But Stevie's set-plays and crosses from the
right are as good as anybody in the world."
Beckham takes a freekickOn 26 May 2007 David Beckham was recalled to the
national team for the first time since the 2006 World Cup after some excellent
performances for Real Madrid and after England's poor form during qualification
for Euro 2008. Beckham's comeback game was against Brazil in a friendly
international, England's first game at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium, on June 1,
2007, where Beckham set up his successor as England captain John Terry with a
trademark cross from a free kick. He has stated his intent to continue to
play for England after his move to the MLS. The LA Galaxy general manager Alexi
Lalas stated he would not stand in the way of a player representing his country,
and would not stop Beckham from doing so, but that they would have to be
appropriate games. However, FIFA have said that if Beckham is called up for
any England match, Galaxy must release him as per FIFA rules.
L.A. Galaxy and U.S. Soccer
It was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that David Beckham would be leaving Real
Madrid to join MLS team Los Angeles Galaxy on a 5 year deal worth $250 million
that will see Beckham earn up to $10 million a year in direct salary, but with
endorsements and profit-sharing, Beckham could earn up to $50 million a year and
earning about 90 dollars every second on the field. 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."
Beckham had departed Manchester United in July 2003 to sign for Real, who paid
£25m for the midfielder's services. However, in the first three-and-a-half
seasons after his arrival, the Spanish giants failed to win any major trophies.
The 2006-07 season initially proved particularly disappointing for Beckham, who
was dropped by the new England coach Steve McClaren and then fell out of favour
with Real boss, Fabio Capello, who allowed Beckham only seven starts in over 25
matches that season. As of January 2007, his form had been disappointing, with
just 12 league goals scored in his entire time at Real Madrid.
On 12 January 2007, Beckham's official press conference was held, via satellite
from Madrid, in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis. All
MLS announcements concerning Beckham's signing and his press conference (as well
as the Super Draft) were a part of the NSCAA National Soccer Coaches Association
of America annual convention. At the press conference, 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 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 13 January 2007, Real Madrid manager Fabio Capello stated during a news
conference that Beckham would never again play for the team, saying that he
could practice, but would not be permitted to put in any minutes in actual
matches for the remainder of his time under contract. A month later
however, Beckham not only returned to the first team with a start against Real
Sociedad, but he also scored the game's equalizing goal in a 2-1 victory.
On 14 January 2007, when a new "SuperLiga" was announced for a new North
American championship, it was reported that Beckham could make his Galaxy debut
during that tournament.
On 17 January 2007, the U.S. publication Sports Illustrated released a detailed
report on the blockbuster contract and the economics behind it.
On 10 June 2007, after several months when Beckham had been instrumental in
Real's push for the La Liga title, Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón revealed
that they still hoped to keep Beckham and claimed that a clause existed in the
deal Beckham signed with LA Galaxy that Real could still keep him if Beckham
wished to stay.. However, Beckham's agent stated that Beckham intended to
honour the contract and LA Galaxy president and general manager Alexi Lalas
stated that there was no escape clause.
Beckham spent long hours on the training pitch honing his talents to perfection,
particularly his trademark free kick. 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 have praised Beckham for maintaining his
professionalism and commitment to the club.
Beckham was the first England player to ever collect two red cards and the first
captain to be sent off for the England team. Beckham's most notorious red
was during the 1998 FIFA World Cup: after Argentina's Diego Simeone had fouled
him, Beckham appeared to lash out with his leg and the Argentine timed his fall
to make it appear that he had been kicked. At the time, Beckham's reaction was
mostly criticized as selfish and bad sportsmanship on Beckham's part and the
front page of the Daily Mirror read "10 heroic lions,one stupid boy". England
went on to lose the game on penalties, Beckham was vilified back in England for
the act but was later to redeem himself with many sterling performances. He was
also somewhat vindicated as Simeone's "fall" was criticized as an example of the
Argentines' play-acting, and Simeone himself later admitted to purposely trying
to foul Beckham.
For Real Madrid he has so far amassed 26 yellow cards and 4 red cards.
Beckham has also been described as a "gentleman" multiple times. During his time
as England captain, Beckham helped to keep Wayne Rooney's temper in check on
With Manchester United (1992 - 2003)
FA Premier League - Champion (6): 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01,
FA Premier League - Runner Up: 1994-95, 1997-98
FA Youth Cup Winner: 1992
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 (5): 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2003
Community Shield Runner Up: 1998, 2000, 2001
FIFA World Player Of The Year Award runner-up in 1999 and 2001
With Real Madrid (2003 - 2007)
La Liga Champion (1): 2006-2007
Beckham was captain of the English national team from 15 November 2000 to 2 July
2006. Beckham stood down as captain in 2006, after England's quarter-final exit
at the World Cup. Beckham is the fifth most capped English player of all
time. He is the only Englishman to score in three different World Cups, is also
the fifth player in World Cup history to score twice from direct free kicks.
In 1997, Beckham started dating Victoria Adams, widely known as "Posh Spice" of
the pop music group Spice Girls, and their relationship attracted a great deal
of media interest. 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. 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.
The Beckhams, who came to be known almost universally as "Posh and Becks", have
three sons: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham (born 1999), Romeo James Beckham (2002) and
Cruz David Beckham (2005).
In April 2004, Beckham's former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, sold a story to
a tabloid newspaper in which she claimed to have had a four month affair with
Beckham, which he described as "ludicrous".
In an 3 April 2006 interview, Beckham told The Daily Mail that he suffers from
Fame beyond football
Beckham's fame extends beyond the pitch; in much of the world his name is "as
instantly recognisable as that of multinational companies like Coca-Cola and
IBM." Beckham's relationship and marriage to Victoria, who had been famous
in her own right as part of the musical group Spice Girls, contributed towards
him becoming a major celebrity outside of football. He has recently moved into
the world of aftershave along with Victoria with the release of his own line of
scents, David Beckham Instinct. The Beckhams are reported to be getting paid
$13.7 million to launch their perfume in the US. (25 January 2007). Beckham's
name was searched for on Google more than that of any other sporting personality
in 2003 and 2004.
Beckham has also become an internationally recognised sex symbol because of his
'metrosexual' tendencies in fashion and because of his immense gay
following, which he recognised and has publicly
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 programme.
He recently hosted the "World Cup Party - Full Length and Fabulous" at his
mansion in Hertfordshire, raising money for three charities, including the
Beckhams' own charity. Over 500 of the richest and most famous faces in England
On 17 January 2007, Rebecca Johnstone, a 19-year-old cancer patient in Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada had 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.
In March 2007, it has been suggested that David made an appearance in the Comic
Relief video for "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", which was performed by The
Proclaimers alongside Peter Kay as Brian Potter and Matt Lucas as Andy Pipkin.
The video featured a range of British television, music and sports
personalities, such as Elton John, Tony Blackburn, Sonia and Des Lynam chanting
along with the track. However it was claimed in Heat magazine that it was in
fact only a 'look-a-like' and not the actual David Beckham.
Appearances in films
Beckham never 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.
Beckham makes a cameo appearance with Zidane and Raùl in the 2005 fictional film
Goal! where he says hello to the main character during a party about halfway
through the film. In Goal! 2: Living the Dream..., Beckham appears as
himself again, when the film's lead gets a spot in the Real Madrid squad. This
2006 sequel is also the second part of a trilogy, and the story this time
centres around the Real Madrid team. Besides Beckham, other real life Real
Madrid players also appear on and off the pitch alongside the fictional
Beckham captained England 58 times during his tenure as England
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
Beckham has many tattoos on his body, one of which is the name of his wife
Victoria but it is written in Hindi rather than English because Beckham thought
it would be "tacky" to have it written in English. The tattoo is misspelt,
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. 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.
Beckham, David (2002). David Beckham: My Side. HarperCollinsWillow. (ISBN
Beckham, David; Freeman, Dean (2001). Beckham: My World. Hodder & Stoughton Ltd.
Beckham, David; Watt, Tom (2003). Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground.
HarperCollins. (ISBN 0-06-057093-8).
Crick, Michael (2003). The Boss -- The Many Sides of Alex Ferguson. Pocket
Books. (ISBN 0-7434-2991-5).
Ferguson, Alex; McIlvanney, Hugh (1999). Managing My Life -- My Autobiography.
Hodder & Stoughton. (ISBN 0-340-72855-8).