The Soccer Player David Beckham

David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE (born May 2, 1975) is an English footballer born in Leytonstone, London. He was a midfielder for Real Madrid and captain of the English national team. He is noted for the quality of his crossing and ability to hit free-kicks and corners, particularly at long-range free-kicks. He is also known for his marriage to a Spice Girl. He played most of his career for Manchester United. Although there are arguably many better current players in world football, few are as famous.

Beckham first signed a YTS (youth training scheme) contract (this is similar to an apprenticeship) with Manchester United in 1991, and made his League debut in 1995, at age 19. The next year he helped the side to the Premiership and FA Cup trophies and to their dominance of domestic football. In the 1998-99 season, he was part of the United team that won the "treble" - Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, a feat unprecedented in English football, which earned the club's manager, Alex Ferguson, a knighthood.

In total, Beckham scored 86 goals in 397 games for Manchester United, a rate of roughly 2 goals every 9 games, highly commendable for a midfielder.

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).

Apart from benefiting 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 had the lion's share of interest. It is probably no coincidence that Beckham was transferred just before Real started a far-eastern tour, but it would be very unfair to say that his marketing potential alone was the only reason for his transfer. 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" organized 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 chosen the number as a tribute to his idol, Michael Jordan, who made number 23 famous with the 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 €624,000 for the sale of the shirts.

His transfer to Real Madrid had proven very fruitful for both Beckham and the club. Beckham scored five times in his first 16 matches (including Real's 600th goal in the European Cup/Champions League, against Olympique Marseille on 26 November 2003), a higher scoring rate than his last year at Manchester United (11 goals in 52 games). He has become a favorite of the notoriously fickle Real Madrid crowd, and established an excellent playing relationship with Ronaldo.

During the summer of 2004, Real Madrid also signed Englishmen Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate.

By 1998 he was a regular international, and traveled with the England squad to the FIFA World Cup. In the second round 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 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 Championships 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-Göran Eriksson. His leadership, mainly by example due to his fitness and work-rate helped England to qualify for the 2002 World Cup Finals and the 1-5 defeat of Germany in Munich during a qualifier (a pivotal event for English football fans). The final step in Beckham's conversion from villain to hero happened in England's 2-2 draw against Greece. Needing only one point from the match in order to qualify for the World Cup, Beckham dragged an otherwise poor England side to qualification with sheer determination and a perfectly executed, last-minute free kick. Meanwhile, taking the role of captain seems to have helped mature him, in both skill and temperament.

Beckham played in all England's matches at Euro 2004, but failed to shine. He had his penalty saved by former Manchester United team-mate Fabien Barthez in his side's 2-1 defeat to France in their opening group game. Then, when England's Quarter-Final against hosts Portugal went to a penalty shootout, he was the first England player to attempt a shot. Beckham fired his shot far over the crossbar and England went on to lose the shoot-out 6-5 after Englishman Darius Vassell also missed. Beckham later blamed the miss on the poor state of the pitch, the British press blamed referee Urs Meier for the loss (he had earlier disallowed a contentious goal by Sol Campbell) even publishing his phone number and postal address.

The Spanish spectator who caught Beckham's miss put the ball up for auction on eBay España. eBay soon determined that virtually all of the bids, including one for €10million , were fake. When bidding closed on 22 July, the winning bid of €28,050 was made by the Canadian internet casino GoldenPalace, which announced that it plans to exhibit the ball around the world for charitable purposes.

Beckham's highly publicized marriage to Spice Girl and media celebrity Victoria Adams, otherwise known as Posh Spice, has made them both popular targets for the tabloid press, which has dubbed the couple "Posh and Becks". They have two sons, Brooklyn, born March 4, 1999 and Romeo, born September 1, 2002, with a third child due to be born in March 2005. Beckham is well-known for his frequent hairstyle changes and has changed his hairstyle for many times after being criticized 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 an episode of the show set in London. He is also the most famous metrosexual.

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

In 2001, Beckham became the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In the summer of 2003, Beckham was made an OBE in Queen Elizabeth II's honors list.

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.

In April 2004, 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, a second woman, Malaysian-born Australian model Sarah Marbeck, claimed that she had slept with Beckham on two occasions. Beckham has denied both allegations, describing them as "ludicrous".

In July of 2004, an intruder was arrested at David Beckham's home for scaling a wall with a can of gasoline. The Sun newspaper reported that the man appeared angry with Beckham and intended to burn down the house.

Near the end of the 2003-04 season, The Daily Telegraph of London 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 rumors that they were interested in selling Beckham, and banned British reporters from access to the team.

Because of the extremely high fee that Real Madrid Football team could command for a Beckham deal, and the fact that the other teams that could afford the fee, had financial constraints (Arsenal, Liverpool) or personality issues (Man U) that would have made a deal unlikely, speculation immediately focused on Chelsea, with its billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. Adding fuel to the rumours, Chelsea's manager at that time, Claudio Ranieri, told an Italian newspaper that the club was pursuing both Beckham and Ronaldo, and The Evening Standard of London reported that Chelsea was prepared to pay £40 million for Beckham.

However, on 20 May, Beckham, in a statement issued through his agent, quashed the transfer rumors, stating that he would see out the remaining three years of his contract in Madrid. He added that his wife and sons, who had yet to move to Spain, would join him there. 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.

But it was not to be. Beckham decided to come to the United States to play the game he loved. He hoped to increase US interest in soccer while at the same time having fun playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. In doing so, he successfully increased awareness of soccer in the United State of America, and has so far done well playing for the LA Galaxy. It was told that the crowd screamed every time Beckham even touched the ball.....