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Profile of David Beckham
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||2nd May 1975
|Place of Birth:
||Leytonstone, London, England
||David Robert Joseph Beckham
|Date of birth
||May 2, 1975
|Place of birth
||Right midfield, centre midfield
|Manchester United F.C.
Preston North End F.C. (loan)
David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE (born May 2, 1975 in Leytonstone, London) is an English footballer who plays for Real Madrid and captains the English national team. He is especially noted for the quality of his crossing and ability to hit free-kicks and corners, particularly long-range free-kicks.
He signed schoolboy forms for Manchester United in 1989, became a trainee in 1991 and signed a professional contract with them soon after making his first first-team appearance in 1992. By 1995, he had established himself as a first-team player at United and won Premier League and FA Cup winners' medals with the club in 1996. He was soon selected to play for England, but after winning another league medal in 1997, he was sent off in a World Cup match against Argentina and became a figure of public hatred among many English football supporters. He continued to play well, though, and helped United win the league, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League the following year. His relationship with the club's manager Sir Alex Ferguson began to deteriorate, though, and although he won further league championships with United in 2000 and 2001, he left the club to join Real Madrid in 2003. While his performances for Real Madrid have attracted praise, he had not won anything significant there, as of September 2005.
Beckham's relationship with and marriage to the former Spice Girl Victoria (née Adams) has contributed towards him becoming a major celebrity away from football, and his name was searched for on Google more than that of any other sporting personality in 2003 and 2004. The Beckhams have three sons, Brooklyn, born March 4, 1999, Romeo, born September 1, 2002, and Cruz, born February 20, 2005.
Childhood and early career
Beckham was born in Leytonstone, east London, the son of Ted Beckham (a kitchen fitter) and Sandra West (a hairdresser). The Beckhams were fanatical Manchester United supporters, who would regularly travel to Old Trafford by coach and frequently went to away games. David was a strong cross-country runner who regularly finished first in his age group in the Essex cross-country championships, but he had inherited his parents' love of Manchester United and his main passion was football. At the age of 11, he attended one of Bobby Charlton's soccer schools in Manchester and won the chance to take part in a training session at FC Barcelona in a talent competition. He was Manchester United's mascot for a match against West Ham United in 1986. The young Beckham had trials with Leyton Orient and attended Tottenham Hotspur's school of excellence, but once Manchester United offered him a place there was no doubting which club he would go to.
He signed schoolboy forms at United on his fourteenth birthday in 1989, then signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 July 1991. He was part of an exceptionally talented group of young players at the club, including the future internationals Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary Neville. These players helped 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's manager Alex Ferguson had enormous confidence in the club's young players and when three of his first-team players left the club at the end of the 1994-95 season, he made the controversial decision to let the youth team players replace them instead of buying players from other clubs. The criticism of Ferguson increased when United started the season with a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa F.C., but many of the doubters were won over when the team won their next five matches. Beckham became a regular player in the team and helped them to win the Premiership and FA Cup double that season.
In August 1996, Beckham's became something of a household name when he scored a spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United 2–1 ahead, 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. Sky Sports' commentator Martin Tyler's words "You'll see that over and over again" proved prophetic as the goal was voted Premier League 'Goal of the Decade' in 2003. Beckham's name 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 a match against Moldova. He became an automatic first-choice player at United that season, helped them to retain their league championship and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.
In 1998, Beckham started dating the Spice Girl Victoria Adams and was pictured wearing a sarong while they were on holiday together. Their relationship attracted a great deal of media interest. United started the season well, but their results deteriorated when several players became injured and they finished the season in second place.
World Cup 1998
Beckham had played in all of England's qualifying matches for the 1998 World Cup and travelled with the England squad to the finals in France, but the team's manager Glenn Hoddle publicly accused him of not concentrating on the tournament, and he didn't start in either of England's first two matches. He was picked for their third match against Colombia, which England needed to win to ensure their progress in the tournament, and played well, scoring one of his trademark free kicks in a 2–0 victory.
In the second round of that competition, he received a red card in England's match against Argentina, for kicking out at Diego Simeone following a foul challenge by the Argentine. 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, waving imaginary red cards at the referee, urging him to send Beckham off . The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Many supporters and journalists blamed Beckham for England's elimination and he became the target of severe criticism and abuse, including the hanging of an effigy outside a London pub, and the Daily Mirror newspaper printing a dartboard with a picture of him in the middle.
The treble season (1998-99)
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 supporters' taunts. On a more positive note for Beckham, Victoria gave birth to their first son Brooklyn on 4 March 1999.
United were losing the Champions League final 1–0 at the end of normal time, but won the trophy by scoring two goals in stoppage time. Both of the goals came from corners taken by Beckham, and this, combined with his performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner up for 1999's European Footballer of the Year award.
He married Victoria on 4 July, in a wedding which attracted enormous media coverage.
1999-2000 season: another sending off, missing training, Euro 2000
Despite Beckham's achievements in the 1998-99 season, he was still unpopular among many journalists and opposing fans, and was heavily criticised when he was 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, the club gave Beckham 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, and he realised that Beckham would have been able to train if Victoria had looked after Brooklyn that deay. 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 in an updated edition of his 1999 autobiography, claiming he hadn't been "fair to his team mates". Beckham had a good season for his club, though, and United won the Premier League by a record margin.
The abuse that Beckham was receiving from English supporters peaked during England's 3–2 defeat by Portugal in Euro 2000, when a group of England supporters taunted him throughout the match with chants including "we hope your kid dies of cancer". Beckham responded with a one-fingered gesture and, while the gesture attracted some criticism, many of the newspapers that had encouraged his vilification asked their readers to stop abusing him.
Increasing popularity (2000-02)
Following Kevin Keegan's resignation as England manager , 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 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 7 October 2001. England needed to win or draw the match in order to qualify for the World Cup, but were losing 2–1 with little time remaining. Beckham ensured England's qualification by equalising with a curling last-minute free kick. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001.
In April 2002, Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruña, breaking the metatarsal bones of his left foot. There was speculation that the injury might have caused deliberately, as the player who had injured Beckham was Argentinian 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 the many endorsement deals he had made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.
He was partially fit by the time of the 2002 World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden. Beckham scored the only goal of the match against Argentina, with a penalty. Just before taking the penalty Diego Simeone, the player that Beckham had 'kicked' during the 1998 World Cup, walked up to him and offered to shake his hand. Some believe this was a genuine goodwill gesture from Simeone, but considering the bitter history between the two it is more likely that this was no more than gamesmanship on the Argentine's part. Beckham turned his back on Simeone and scored the crucial penalty. England were eventually knocked out of the tournament by Brazil in the Quarter-Finals.
Following an injury, Beckham was unable to regain his place in the 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, Alex Ferguson kicked a football boot which struck Beckham over the eye, causing a cut which 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. Beckham scored the winning goal in their final match of the season. He was still a first-choice player for England, however, and he was awarded an OBE for services to football on 13 June.
On June 17, 2003, Beckham signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid of Spain, potentially worth up to €35 million (£25 million, USD 41 million). The transfer was completed on 1 July.
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. At the time the transfer was announced, Beckham and his wife were on a week-long tour of Asia promoting beauty products, chocolate, motor oil, and mobile phones. It was reported that this tour would earn more money for the Beckhams than the first year of David's Real Madrid contract.
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 chose to wear 23 instead, in tribute to Michael Jordan who had worn that number for the Chicago Bulls.
2003-04 season: Rebecca Loos, disappointment at Euro 2004
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, were not performing well. Beckham 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".
Near the end of the 2003-04 season, The Daily Telegraph reported that Beckham's major sponsors were trying to arrange for him to return to England for the 2004-05 season. Sources within the family told the Telegraph that Beckham would almost certainly be back in London. Real Madrid denied rumours that they were interested in selling Beckham, and banned British reporters from access to the team.
Real Madrid finished the season in a diasppointing 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 missed another in a penalty shootout in the quarter final against Portugal. England lost the shootout and went out of the competition.
2004-05 season: intruder, deliberate booking, UNICEF role
In July 2004, while David 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 when he admitted he had intentionally fouled 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 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.
In November 2004 it was reported that Real Madrid intended to offer Beckham a two-year extension to his contract, which would effectively keep him in Madrid for the remainder of his playing career. The following month, the announcement of plans for the christening of the Beckhams' two children, including the construction of a fake Gothic chapel for £120,000 on the grounds of their Berkshire estate, were received with some ridicule, especially as neither are held to be strongly religious.
Beckham became a UNICEF goodwill amabassador in January 2005, having supported the charity for a number of years.
Real Madrid had another disappointing season, finishing second in the league to Barcelona and only reaching the last sixteen in the UEFA Champions League.
In October 2005, while playing in the World Cup Qualifying match againt Austria, Beckham became the first England captain to be sent off, and the first player to be sent off twice while playing for England. Nonetheless, England held on to win the match 1-0 and later qualified for the 2006 tournament due to results elsewhere. Four days later they beat Poland 2-1 to top the qualifying group.
Beckham made his 85th appearance for England in 2005 and is expected to captain the team at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. If so, he would become only the sixth England player to represent his country at three World Cup competitions, and the third (after Bobby Moore and Bryan Robson) to captain the team at more than one World Cup. Beckham is also a reasonable candidate to record 100 appearances for his country.
Early on in his career Beckham secured a number of lucrative sponsorship deals including adidas, Vodafone and Diesel.
Following his move to Real Madrid and the disappointment of Euro 2004, British media interest in the Beckham's has faded despite an alleged affair with Rebecca Loos, his former personal assistant.
He has become more well known in North America since the success of the British film Bend It Like Beckham. It is about a British Sikh girl who idolises David Beckham and harbours ambitions of being a football player.
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 has a bought a multi-million dollar home in The Palm, Jumeirah, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In July of 2005, some regard Beckham as instrumental in the success of the Olympic bid for London 2012.
He is the only player to have been sent off more than once (currently twice) for the English national side.
"David Beckham is Britain's finest striker of a football not because of God-given talent but because he practises with a relentless application that the vast majority of less gifted players wouldn't contemplate" — Sir Alex Ferguson (1999)
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