David Beckham is perhaps the most famous footballer of all time. Known at first for his incredible right foot and free-kick taking ability, he later became more famous as a fashion icon and ambassador for football worldwide
David is born to Sandra and Ted Beckham, part of a very loving and close-knit family in Leytonstone, London. His father is a kitchen-fitter and his mother a hairdresser. Although the family do not struggle to make ends meet, the future England football captain experiences nothing of wealth and fame that would later come his way. His parents are passionate Manchester United fans, although his grandfather Joseph with who he becomes very close, is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.
He has two sisters, Joanne and Lynne Beckham - he is the middle-child of the three siblings. He enjoys a happy childhood, occasionally travelling to Old Trafford to watch Man Utd play with his parents. David begins to share his parents' fervour for the club. He has often stated that whenever people asked what he wanted to do with his life, he replied 'footballer'. So it is clear at a young age where Beckham's ambitions lie.
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The exciting young talent attended one of Bobby Charlton's football schools because of his affiliation with Manchester United. There is a famous video of David performing kick-ups on live television which can be found on youtube. He was awarded a football scholarship to play with the likes of Gay Lineker and Mark Hughes in Barcelona's academy, and conseaquently offered the very short tv appearence at the age of 12. He later began playing for Tottenham Hotspur's academy side under the future England manager Terry Venables. However their were concerns about his height, as he was a late grower. Meanwhile he took a trip to Manchester to meet Sir Alex Ferguson (many years before the manager's eventual knighthood).
After a loan spell at Preston North End, David is finally ready for the big time in the 1994-95 season, scoring his first goal in the Champions League in a 4-0 rout over Turkish side Galatasary. His first Premier League goal comes in the first game of the following season, kicking off his career. However it isn't until his half-way line lob against Wimbledon in the first game of the 1996-97 season, that he becomes a house-hold name in England. He is voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.
Beckham goes on to win countless trophies and accolades (They win the Champions League in 1999 and Beckham is voted the 2nd best player in Europe and the world) but as his fame increases, his relationship with the manager begins to deteriorate. It is suggested that his wife, Victoria Beckham's influence along with his time spent away from the club, is causing the damage.
The 2001-02 season is said to be his best, as he scores 11 goals in 28 games. This is after the goal against Greece in the World Cup qualifiers that makes him a star. He scores in the final minute from a 30 yard free-kick after a Man-of-the-Match display. The result means that England top the group, and many pundits maintain that he single handedly qualified his country for the tournament.
2002-03 marks the famous boot-scandal where the manager, Ferguson, is said to have thrown a boot at Beckham's face, leading to a gash that requires stitches above his eye. He continues to play for the side and is awarded an OBE for his services. At the end of the season he is finally sold to Real Madrid for a fee of 25 million pounds.
He does not need time to adapt, scoring 5 goals in his first 16 games along the likes of Zidane, Figo, Casillas, Roberto Carlos and Raul. However they finish 4th in La Liga, runners-up in the cup and only reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League, marking a disappointing season by standards of both the club and the player.
In 2005, the team again fails to win the league, finishing as runners-up, having dispensed of several managers in the season. Beckham causes uproar on the international stage as he admits to purposely receiving a yellow card in order to serve a suspension in a game for which he knew he would be injured. That way his card count would be wiped clean for the subsequent game.
In the 2005-06 seaso, David leads the assists-table although he is sent off 3 times in the first half of the season. Yet again, the team fail to win anything, and the manager is consequently sacked. Meanwhile Beckham sets up Football Academies in Los Angeles and London.
The following season marks his final year at the very top level. He is initially out of favour with new boss Fabio Capello, and in the first 9 starts that he makes, Madrid lose 7. Due to contract difficulties and his failure to consistently start matches, he signs a contract with L.A. Galaxy, stating that he will join them at the end of the Spanish season. Capello states that while David will continue to train, he has played his last game for Madrid.
One month later, Capello backtracked on his decision, putting him in the team against Real Sociedad in Februrary. Beckham repaid this show of faith by scoring a 30 yard trademark free-kick. He plays a huge part in their good form, and the club attempt to untie his contract with LA Galaxy, ultimately unsuccesfully. David is injured in his final game for Madrird although they win 3-1 and take home the league title for this first and only time in Beckham's stay in Madrid.
His time in LA is of mixed fortune. He scores and plays well on a regular basis for the team. However, he is constantly criticised for his failure to dedicate himself to the side due to his other footballing obligations such as charities, football academies and the English national side. Moreover he experiences 2 loan spells for AC Milan during the American off-season. As a result he has played for the biggest team in each of the biggest leagues in the world. He continues to play for England and is reunited with boss Capello who is now in charge of the side. However, he sustains a bad serious injury before the 2010 World Cup and is said to have played his last game for his country. He accompanies the team nonetheless to what is an unsuccessful World Cup campaign.
Recently he is linked with a shock return to the Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur, his grandfather's old side, the favourites for his signature. His contract with LA Galaxy is set to run out in November 2011.