David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE, /?b?k?m/ (born 2 May 1975) is an English former footballer. He has played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, Los Angeles Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, and the England national team for which he holds the appearance record for an outfield player. He was the first English player to win league titles in four countries. He announced his intention to retire at the end of the 2012–13 Ligue 1 season on 16 May 2013 and, on 18 May 2013, played his final game of his storied 20-year career.
Beckham’s professional career began with Manchester United, where he made his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. With United, Beckham won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. He then played four seasons with Real Madrid, winning the La Liga championship in his final season with the club. In July 2007 Beckham signed a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy. While a Galaxy player, he spent two loan spells in Italy with AC Milan in 2009 and 2010. Beckham was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches.
In international football, Beckham made his England debut on 1 September 1996, at the age of 21. He was captain for six years during which he played 58 times. He has 115 career appearances to date.
Beckham has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year, and in 2004 he was named as one of the Top 125 greatest living footballers as part of FIFA’s 100th anniversary celebration. In 2004 he was the world’s highest-paid footballer when taking into account salary and advertising deals. When joining MLS in 2007 he was given the highest player salary in the league’s history of US$6.5m per year.
In February 2014, Major League Soccer announced Beckham and a group of investors would own an expansion team in Miami, which would begin play in 2016 or 2017.
He has been married to Victoria Beckham since 1999, and they have four children. In 2009, the couple’s joint wealth was estimated at £125 million.
Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, London, England. He is the son of Sandra Georgina (née West; b. 1949), a hairdresser, and David Edward Alan “Ted” Beckham (b. Edmonton, London, July–September 1948), a kitchen fitter, who married at the London Borough of Hackney in 1969. He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School. In a 2007 interview, Beckham said that, “At school whenever the teachers asked, ‘What do you want to do when you’re older?’ I’d say, ‘I want to be a footballer.’ And they’d say, ‘No, what do you really want to do, for a job?’ But that was the only thing I ever wanted to do.” Beckham’s maternal grandfather was Jewish, and Beckham has referred to himself as “half Jewish” and wrote in his autobiography “I’ve probably had more contact with Judaism than with any other religion”. In his book Both Feet on the Ground, he stated that growing up he attended church every week with his parents and his older sister, Lynne Georgina and younger sister, Joanne Louise.
His parents were fanatical Manchester United supporters who would frequently travel to Old Trafford from London to attend the team’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. He played for a local youth team called the Ridgeway Rovers – coached by his father, Stuart Underwood and Steve Kirby. Beckham 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 school of excellence. Tottenham Hotspur was the first club he played for. During a two-year period in which Beckham 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 14th birthday, and subsequently signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 July 1991.
Major League Soccer team in Miami
On 5 February 2014, Major League Soccer announced that Beckham had exercised his option to buy a MLS expansion team for $25 million, which he had received as part of the contract he signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. The team based in Miami would begin play in 2016 or 2017, assuming a stadium can be built.
David Beckham Academy
David Beckham Academy
In 2005, Beckham founded the David Beckham Academy football school, operating from two sites: in London and in Los Angeles, California. It was announced in late 2009 that both would close. A mobile academy is being developed by Beckham, to travel around the UK and further afield.
David and Victoria Beckham at the 2007 British Grand Prix at Silverstone
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 her on 24 January 1998 in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England.
On 4 July 1999, David and Victoria married at Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland. The wedding attracted tremendous media coverage. Beckham’s teammate Gary Neville was the best man, and the couple’s infant son, Brooklyn, 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, David and Victoria Beckham purchased their most famous home in Hertfordshire, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace, estimated to be worth £7.5 million. David and Victoria Beckham have four children: sons Brooklyn Joseph (born 1999 in London), Romeo James (born 2002 in London), and Cruz David (born 2005 in Madrid; the word “cruz” is Spanish for “cross”); and daughter Harper Seven (born 2011, in Los Angeles). Elton John is godfather to Brooklyn and Romeo Beckham; their godmother is Elizabeth Hurley. At age 10, Romeo was modelling for Burberry.
In April 2007, the family purchased their current main residence, an Italian villa in Beverly Hills, to coincide with Beckham’s transfer to the Galaxy that 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. The family also owned a home in Dubai.
Beckham suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), which he says makes him “have everything in a straight line or everything has to be in pairs.” Victoria Beckham claims, “If you open our fridge, it’s all co-ordinated down either side. We’ve got three fridges – food in one, salad in another and drinks in the third. In the drinks one, everything is symmetrical. If there’s three cans, he’ll throw one away because it has to be an even number.”
In April 2004, the British tabloid News of the World carried claims by Beckham’s former personal assistant Rebecca Loos that he and Loos 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 an interview with W Magazine, Victoria Beckham told a reporter, “I’m not going to lie: it was a really tough time. It was hard for our entire families. But I realised a lot of people have a price.”
In December 2008, Beckham and his bodyguard were sued by paparazzi photographer Emicles da Mata, who claimed that he was assaulted by them when attempting to take a picture of Beckham in Beverly Hills. Da Mata is seeking unspecified damages for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In September 2010, Beckham announced that he was pressing charges against prostitute Irma Nici and several others over claims in the magazine In Touch that he had had sex with her. Beckham’s court application was dismissed.
Outside of football
Beckham in December 2009
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 has been famous in her own right as part of the musical group Spice Girls, contributed to David’s celebrity beyond football. So gilded has been the career of Beckham that Victoria revealed her nickname for her husband to be “Golden Balls”.
Beckham became known as a fashion icon, 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 and has been described as such by numerous other articles since. The Beckhams were reportedly paid $13.7 million in 2007 to launch his fragrance line in the US. In the world of fashion, David has already appeared on the covers of many magazines. US 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. The search engine Ask Jeeves named Beckham in December 2009 as the third most online searched person in the last decade. The findings are based on online activity by British users of the search engine.
Upon their arrival in Los Angeles on 12 July 2007, the night before Beckham’s formal introduction, Los Angeles International Airport was filled with paparazzi and news reporters. On the next night, Victoria appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to talk about the their move to LA, 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 private welcoming party was held for the couple at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. A-list celebrities attending included Steven Spielberg, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Oprah Winfrey.
Beckham’s many endorsement deals make him one of the most recognisable athletes throughout the world. On 31 December 2008, it was announced that Pepsi Co. was ending its endorsement deal with the player after a 10-year collaboration. Beckham has several eponymous video games, including Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island, a platform game for the Game Boy Advance, and David Beckham Soccer, a football game for a number of different platforms. In August 2010, Beckham signed an endorsement deal with EA SPORTS to become brand ambassador for EA SPORTS Active 2.
Beckham visited Afghanistan in May 2010 for a morale-boosting visit to British troops fighting the Taliban insurgency. The appearance of Beckham as well as British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Liam Fox was believed to have prompted a Taliban attack on Kandahar airfield.  In September, Beckham released Homme by David Beckham.
Chief executive at LA Galaxy, Tim Leiweke, said in July 2012 that Beckham’s fame was so strong that even the then-next Chinese president Xi Jinping’s security guards lost focus when the footballer walked into the room at a meeting in February 2012.
In March 2013, Beckham was named as the first global ambassador for Chinese football, which has recently been hit by a match-fixing scandal and an exodus of international stalwarts from the country’s premier league. On June 2013, Beckham visited China on a seven-day promotional tour to promote Chinese football. However, he was forced to cancel an event at Tongji University in Shanghai after it descended into chaos that left at least seven people injured.
From 14 July 2013 Beckham started appearing in adverts for BSkyB advertising their Sky Sports coverage via the Sky Go app. He had previously appeared in Samsung’s adverts for the Galaxy S3 smartphone in 2012.