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David Beckham

David Robert Joseph Beckham (born May 2, 1975) is a British football player born in Leytonstone, London. He is a midfielder and is noted for the quality of his crossing and ability to hit a dead ball, notably at free-kicks. He played most of his career for Manchester United F.C. and is currently captain of the English national football team.

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Manchester United F.C.

Beckham first signed a trainee[?]'s contract with United in 1991, and made his League debut in 1995, aged 19. The next year he helped the side to the Premiership and FA Cup trophies and to their dominance of domestic football. In total, Beckham scored 86 goals in 397 games for United.

Real Madrid

However, on June 17, 2003, Beckham signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid of Spain, potentially worth up to 25 million (USD 41 million).

Apart from benefitting from his football ability, this transfer gives the Spanish club an opportunity to profit from merchandising, especially in the Far East, where Beckham is enormously popular, and Manchester United have until now had the lion's share of interest. It is probably no coincidence that Beckham was transferred just before Real started a far-eastern tour. At the time of the announcement of his transfer to Real Madrid, Beckham and his wife (Victoria) were on a week-long tour of Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand promoting beauty products, chocolate, motor oil, and mobile phones, which it was reported would earn them more than the entire first year of his Real Madrid contract. (Western journalists are excluded from the Japanese "press conferences" organised by his sponsors because of the embarrassment they would cause him in the West).

He successfully completed the transfer on July 1 and was presented with the squad number of 23 on July 2. He is believed to have chosened the number as a tribute to his idol, Michael Jordan, who made number 23 famous with Chicago Bulls. Real Madrid shirts bearing his name and number were sold out in Madrid on the day his transfer was completed and Real Madrid were expected to receive 624000 euros for the sale of the shirts.

English national team

By 1998 he was a regular international, and travelled with the England squad to the FIFA World Cup. In the quarter-final of that competition he received a red-card for retaliation, following a foul challenge by the Argentine Diego Simeone[?]. This act arguably cost England the game (which they lost on penalties) and cost them the chance of advancing in the tournament. On returning home, Beckham became the target of criticism, sometimes justified (the accusation of petulance, for example) but much merely gratuitous. He received a similar vilification following his dismissal for a dangerous challenge in the World Club Championship the next year.

Following England's poor performance in the 2000 European Championship (from which Beckham was one of the few players to emerge with credit) and later poor performances, the departure of Kevin Keegan[?] as manager saw Beckham promoted to captain, initially under caretaker manager Peter Taylor[?] and maintained by Sven-Goran Eriksson[?]. His leadership, mainly by example due to his fitness and workrate helped England to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals and an unprecedented 5-1 defeat of Germany in Munich. Meanwhile, taking the role of captain seems to have helped mature him, in both skill and temperament.

In the summer of 2003, Beckham was made an Officer in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen Elizabeth II's honors list.

Beckham's celebrity lifestyle

Beckham's highly publicised marriage to Spice Girl and media celebrity Victoria Beckham, otherwise known as Posh Spice, has made them both popular targets for the tabloid press. They have two sons, Brooklyn, born March 4, 1999 and Romeo, born September 1, 2002. Beckham is well-known for his frequent hairstyle changes and has changed his hairstyle for many times after being criticised for influencing teenagers' hairstyle.

David Beckham is, according to the Google search engine, the most famous sports personality in the world, however the producers of The Simpsons decided that he wasn't famous enough to make a cameo appearance in the 300th episode of the show, set in London.

However, he has become more well known in North America since the success of the British film, Bend It Like Beckham about a Sikh girl whose ambition to be a football player in defiance of her parents is because she can play like David Beckham.

In May of 2003 Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson ordered David Beckham not to wear his hair band during matches. It has been speculated that he believed it to be too effeminate.

He was considered by some Manchester United fans to be too interested in playing for England, to the detriment of his performances for United.

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