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Facts about David Beckham
Biography for David BeckhamDavid Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE (born 2 May 1975 (41 years ago)) is an English footballer who currently plays in midfield for American Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy and the England national team.
Twice runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year and in 2004 (12 years ago) the world's highest-paid footballer, Beckham was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches. He was Google's most searched of all sports topics in both 2003 (13 years ago) and 2004 (12 years ago). With such global recognition he has become an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon. Beckham was captain of England from 15 Nov. 2000 (16 years ago) until the 2006 (10 years ago) FIFA World Cup finals, during which he played 58 times. Since then he has continued to represent his country and earned his much-publicised hundredth cap for England against France on 26 Mar. 2008 (8 years ago). He is currently England's most-capped outfield player with 112 appearances.
Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 (24 years ago) aged 17. During his time there, United won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999 (17 years ago). He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003 (13 years ago), where he remained for four seasons, clinching the La Liga championship in his final season with the club.
In Jan. 2007 (9 years ago), it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid and sign a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy became effective on 1 Jul. 2007 (9 years ago) and gave him the highest player salary in MLS history. He debuted for the team on 21 Jul. in a friendly versus Chelsea at The Home Depot Center, and on 15 August, he had his first start with the team, scoring his first goal in the 2007 (9 years ago) SuperLiga semi-final. His first league start then came on 18 Aug. in front of a record crowd at Giants Stadium.
Beckham is married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham (11 walls) (née Adams). The couple have three sons and currently reside in Beverly Hills, California.
Personal lifeIn 1997 (19 years ago), 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 Victoria on 24 Jan. 1998 (18 years ago) in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England.
He married Adams at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland on 4 Jul. 1999 (17 years ago), and her name changed to Victoria Beckham. The wedding attracted tremendous media coverage. Beckham's teammate Gary Neville was the best man, and the couple's son Brooklyn, then four months old, 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 (17 years ago), the Beckhams purchased their most famous home, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace in Hertfordshire, north of London. It is estimated to be worth £7.5 million. David and Victoria have three sons together: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham (born 4 Mar. 1999 (17 years ago) in London, England), Romeo James Beckham (born 1 sep. 2002 (14 years ago) in London, England), and Cruz David Beckham (born 20 Feb. 2005 (11 years ago) in Madrid, Spain [the world "cruz" is Spanish for "cross"]). Both Brooklyn and Romeo's godfather is Elton John and godmother is Elizabeth Hurley. They have stated that they would like to have more children, especially a daughter.
In Apr. 2007 (9 years ago), the family purchased their new Italian villa in Beverly Hills, California, to coincide with Beckham's transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy in July. The mansion, priced at $22 million, is near the homes of Tom Cruise (12 walls) and Katie Holmes (57 walls), and talk-show host Jay Leno, in an exclusive gated community in the hills overlooking the city.
Affair claimsIn Apr. 2004 (12 years ago), the British tabloid News of the World carried claims by his 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". There has never been any proof of any of the allegations of Beckham's claimed infidelity. In an interview with W Magazine, Victoria Beckham (11 walls) told a reporter, "I'm not going to lie: it was a really tough time. It was hard for our entire families. But I realized a lot of people have a price."
Legal IssuesIn dec. 2008 (8 years ago), 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 (wallpaper) of Beckham in Beverly Hills. Da Mata is seeking unspecified damages for assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Club careerChildhood and early career
Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, London, England. He is the son of David Edward Alan "Ted" Beckham (b. Edmonton, London, July–September 1948 (68 years ago)), a kitchen fitter, and wife (m. London Borough of Hackney, 1969 (47 years ago)) Sandra Georgina West (b. 1949 (67 years ago)), a hairdresser. He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School. In a 2007 (9 years ago) 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." His maternal grandfather is Jewish, although Beckham has referred to himself as "half Jewish" and spoken of the influence the religion has had on him. In his book Both Feet on the Ground, he stated that growing up he always attended church with his parents and his two sisters, Joanne and Lynne. 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 (30 years ago). 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 (26 years ago). He also attended Bradenton Preparatory Academy, but signed schoolboy forms at Manchester United on his fourteenth birthday, and subsequently signed a Youth Training Scheme contract on 8 Jul. 1991 (25 years ago).
Beckham was part of a group of young players at the club who guided the club to win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992 (24 years ago), 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 (22 years ago) when the club's reserve team won their league.
On 7 dec. 1994 (22 years ago), Beckham made his UEFA Champions League debut, scoring a goal in a 4–0 victory at home to Galatasaray in the final game of the group stage. However, this victory was of little use as they finished third out of four in their group behind FC Barcelona on goal difference.
He then went to Preston North End on loan for part of the 1994–95 season to get some first team experience. He impressed, scoring two goals in five appearances, notably scoring directly from a corner kick. Beckham returned to Manchester and finally made his Premier League debut for Manchester United on 2 Apr. 1995 (21 years ago), in a goal-less draw against Leeds United.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a great deal of confidence in the club's young players. Beckham as part of a group of young talents Ferguson brought in to United in the 1990 (26 years ago) ("Fergie (19 walls)'s Fledglings"), which included Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville. When experienced players Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, and Andrei Kanchelskis left the club after the end of the 1994–95 season, his decision to let youth team players replace them instead of buying star players from other clubs (United had been linked with moves for players including Darren Anderton, Marc Overmars, and Roberto Baggio, but no major signings were made that summer), drew a great deal of criticism. The criticism increased when United started the season with a 3–1 defeat at Aston Villa, with Beckham scoring United's only goal of the game; however, United won their next five matches and the young players performed well.
Beckham swiftly established himself as United's right-sided midfielder (rather than a right-winger in the style of his predecessor Andrei Kanchelskis) and helped them to win the Premier League title and FA Cup double that season, scoring the winner in the semi-final against Chelsea and also provided the corner that Eric Cantona scored from in the FA Cup Final. Beckham's first title medal had, for a while, looked like it wouldn't be coming that season, as United were still 10 points adrift of leaders Newcastle United at the turn of the new year, but Beckham and his team-mates had overhauled the Tynesiders at the top of the league by mid Mar. and they remained top until the end of the season.
Despite playing regularly (and to a consistently high standard) for Manchester United, Beckham did not break into the England squad before Euro 96.
At the beginning of the 1996–97 season David Beckham was given the number 10 shirt that had most recently been worn by Mark Hughes. On 17 Aug. 1996 (20 years ago) (the first day of the Premier League season), Beckham became something of a household name when he scored a spectacular goal in a match against Wimbledon. With United leading 2–0, 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. When Beckham scored his famous goal, he did so in shoes custom-made for Charlie Miller ("Charlie" embroidered on boots), which had been given to Beckham by mistake. During the 1996–97 season, he became an automatic first-choice player at United helping them to retain the Premier League championship, and being voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers.
On 18 May 1997 (19 years ago), Eric Cantona retired as a player and left the coveted number 7 shirt free, and with Teddy Sheringham arriving from Tottenham Hotspur as Cantona's successor, Beckham left his number 10 shirt for Sheringham and picked up the number 7 jersey. Some fans had felt the number 7 shirt should be retired after Cantona had himself retired, but the shirt number remains in use to this day (most recently by another English star Michael Owen).
United started the 1997–98 season well but erratic performances in the second half of the season saw United finish second behind Arsenal.
In the 1998–99 season, he was part of the United team that won The Treble of the 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.
To ensure they would win the Premier League title, United needed to win their final league match of the season, at home to Tottenham Hotspur (with reports suggesting that the opposition would allow themselves to be easily beaten to prevent their deadly local rivals Arsenal from retaining the title), but Tottenham took an early lead in the match. Beckham scored the equaliser and United went on to win the match and the league.
Beckham played centre-midfield in United's FA Cup final win over Newcastle United and for the 1999 (17 years ago) UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, since United's first string centre-midfielders were suspended for the match. United were losing the match 1–0 at the end of normal time, but won the trophy by scoring two goals in injury time. Both of the goals came from corners taken by Beckham. Those crucial assists, coupled with great performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner up to Rivaldo for 1999's European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Despite Beckham's achievements in the 1998–99 season, he was still unpopular among some opposition fans and journalists, and he was criticised after being 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. During the 1999-2000 season, there was a talk of a transfer to Juventus in Italy, but this never happened.
By the early 2000s, the relationship between Ferguson and Beckham had begun to deteriorate, possibly as a result of Beckham's fame and commitments away from football. In 2000 (16 years ago), Beckham was given permission to miss training to look after his son Brooklyn, who had gastroenteritis, but Ferguson was furious when Victoria Beckham (11 walls) was photographed at a London Fashion Week event on the same night, claiming that Beckham would have been able to train if Victoria had looked after Brooklyn that day. 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 for this in his autobiography, claiming he had not been "fair to his teammates" Beckham had a good season for his club, though, and helped United to win the Premier League by a record margin.
"He was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time, he was a fantastic young lad. Getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing – from that moment, his life was never going to be the same. He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part."' – Alex Ferguson speaking about Beckham's marriage in 2007 (9 years ago).
Beckham helped United retain the Premier League title in 1999-2000 by an 18-point margin - after being pushed by Arsenal and Leeds United for much of the season, United won their final 11 league games of the season, with Beckham scoring five goals during this fantastic run of form. He managed six league goals that season, and scored eight goals in all competitions.
He was a key player in United's third successive league title in 2000-01 - only the fourth time that any club had achieved three league titles in a row. He scored nine goals that season, all in the Premier League.
On 10 Apr. 2002 (14 years ago), Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo La Coruña, breaking the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. There was speculation in the British media that the injury might have been caused deliberately, as the player who had injured Beckham was Argentine Aldo Duscher, 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 and they missed out on the Premier League title to Arsenal (also being knocked out of the European Cup by Bayer Leverkusen on away goals in the semi-finals), but he signed a three-year contract in May, following months of negotiations with the club, mostly concerning extra payments for his image (wallpaper) rights. The income from his new contract, and his many endorsement deals, made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.
2001-02 was arguably Beckham's best season as a United player, though. He scored 11 goals in 28 league games, and a total of 16 goals in 42 games in all competitions.
Following an injury early in the 2002–03 season, Beckham was unable to regain his place on the Manchester United team, with Ole Gunnar Solskjær having replaced him on the right side of midfield. His relationship with his manager deteriorated further on 15 Feb. 2003 (13 years ago) when, in the changing room following an FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, a furious Alex Ferguson kicked a boot that struck Beckham over the eye, causing a cut that 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 dec. onwards and they won the league, with Beckham managing a total of 11 goals in 52 games in all competitions.
He was still a first-choice player for England, however, and he was awarded an OBE for services to football on 13 June.
Beckham had made 265 Premier league appearances for United and scored 61 goals. He also made 81 Champions league appearances, scoring 15 goals. Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup, and one FA Youth Cup in the space of 12 years. By this stage, he was their joint second longest serving player behind Ryan Giggs (having joined them at the same time as Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes).
Beckham (top) and Zinedine Zidane at Real MadridManchester United had been keen to sell Beckham to FC Barcelona but instead he signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid, with the transfer fee being about €35 million (£25m). The transfer was completed on 1 Jul. 2003 (13 years ago) and made him the third Englishman to play for the club after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman. Although Beckham had worn the number seven shirt for Manchester United and England, he was unable to wear it at Madrid as it was currently assigned to club captain Raúl. He decided to wear number 23 instead, citing his admiration of basketball player Michael Jordan, who also wore the number 23 shirt, as the reason behind his decision.
Real Madrid finished the season in fourth place, and were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage. But, Beckham immediately became a favourite with the Real Madrid supporters, scoring five times in his first 16 matches (including scoring less than three minutes into his La Liga debut), but the team, whose club president expected them to win either the Spanish league or the Champions League each season, did not match expectations.
In Jul. 2004 (12 years ago), while Beckham 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 Oct. 2004 (12 years ago) when he admitted intentionally fouling 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 had 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. He was sent off shortly afterwards, this time in a league match for Real Madrid against Valencia CF. Having received a yellow card, he was judged to have sarcastically applaud the referee and was given a second yellow card, causing an automatic dismissal, although the suspension was cancelled on appeal two days later. He was sent off for the third time that season on 3 dec. 2005 (11 years ago) in a league match against Getafe CF. In that season, Beckham led La Liga in number of assists.
Real Madrid finished second to Barcelona in the 2005–06 La Liga, albeit with a large 12 point gap, and only reached the last sixteen in the Champions League after losing to Arsenal by one goal.
Warming up with Real Madrid.During the season, Beckham established football academies in Los Angeles, California and East London and he was named a judge for the 2006 (10 years ago) British Book Awards.
In 2007 (9 years ago), Real Madrid won their first Spanish La Liga title in three years because of their superior head-to-head record against Barcelona, giving Beckham his first title since he joined Real Madrid.
Initially out of favour with manager Fabio Capello, Beckham started only a few games at the beginning of the season, as the speedier José Antonio Reyes was normally preferred on the right wing. In the first nine matches Beckham started, Real lost seven.
On 10 Jan. 2007 (9 years ago), after prolonged contract negotiations, Real Madrid's sporting director Predrag Mijatović announced that Beckham would not remain at Real Madrid after the end of the season. However, he later claimed that he was mistranslated and that he actually said that Beckham's contract had not been renewed yet.
On 11 Jan. 2007 (9 years ago), Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play for Los Angeles Galaxy beginning 1 Jul. 2007 (9 years ago). On 13 Jan. 2007 (9 years ago), Fabio Capello said that Beckham had played his last game for Real Madrid, although he would continue to train with the team. Capello backtracked on that statement and Beckham rejoined the team for their match against Real Sociedad on 10 Feb. 2007 (9 years ago) – he scored and Real Madrid won. In his final UEFA Champions League appearance, Real Madrid were knocked out of the competition (by the away goals rule) on 7 Mar. 2007 (9 years ago). Beckham had made a total of 103 appearances in the Champions League, the third highest number of any player at the time.
On 17 Jun. 2007 (9 years ago), the last day of the La Liga season, Beckham started in his final match for the club, a 3-1 win over RCD Mallorca, which saw them clinch the title from Barcelona. Although he limped off the field, he was replaced by José Antonio Reyes who scored two goals and the team won the season's La Liga title, their first since Beckham had signed with them. Although both finished level on points, Madrid took the title because of their superior head-to-head record, capping a remarkable six-month turnaround for Beckham.
At the end of the season, Real Madrid announced that they would try to untie David Beckham's transfer to LA Galaxy with him playing with improved form, but were unsuccessful, mainly due to LA Galaxy's refusal to listen.
A month after the conclusion of Beckham's Real career, Forbes magazine reported that he had been the party primarily responsible for the team's huge increase in merchandise sales, a total reported to top US$600 million during Beckham's four years at the club.
Los Angeles Galaxy
It was confirmed on 11 Jan. 2007 (9 years ago) that David Beckham would be leaving Real Madrid to join Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy. The following day, Beckham's official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 (9 years ago) MLS SuperDraft.
I'm coming there not to be a superstar. I'm coming there to be part of the team, to work hard and to hopefully win things. With me, it's about football. I'm coming there to make a difference. I'm coming there to play football... I'm not saying me coming over to the States is going to make soccer the biggest sport in America. That would be difficult to achieve. Baseball, basketball, American football, they've been around. But I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think I could make a difference.
Beckham (centre) scores his first goal for LA GalaxyBeckham's contract with Los Angeles Galaxy took effect on 11 July, and on 13 July, was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player at The Home Depot Center. Beckham chose to wear number 23. It was announced that Galaxy jersey sales had already reached a record figure of over 250,000 prior to this formal introduction.
On 21 July, Beckham made his Galaxy debut after coming on in the 78th minute in a 1–0 loss to Chelsea during the World Series of Soccer. Two weeks later, Beckham made his league debut as a substitute on 9 Aug. versus D.C. United.
Beckham returned to the pitch the following week, again facing D.C. United, in the SuperLiga semi-final on 15 August. During this game he had many firsts with the Galaxy; his first start, first yellow card and first game as team captain. He also scored his first goal for the team, from a free kick, and also made his first assist, for Landon Donovan in the second half. These goals gave the team a 2–0 victory, and a place in the North American SuperLiga final versus Pachuca on 29 August.
During the SuperLiga final against Pachuca, Beckham injured his right knee, with an MRI scan revealing that he had sprained his medial collateral ligament and would be out for six weeks. He returned to play in the final home match of the season. The Galaxy were eliminated from playoff contention on 21 October, in the final MLS match of the season, a 1–0 loss to the Chicago Fire. Beckham played as a substitute in the match, bringing his season-totals to; eight matches played (5 league), one goal scored (0 league), and three assists (2 league).
Beckham trained with Arsenal from 4 Jan. 2008 (8 years ago) for three weeks, until he returned to the Galaxy for pre-season training.
Beckham scored his first league goal with the Galaxy on 3 Apr. against the San Jose Earthquakes in the 9th minute. On 24 May 2008 (8 years ago), the Galaxy defeated the Kansas City Wizards 3–1, giving the Galaxy their first winning record in two years and moving the club into first place in the Western Conference. In the match Beckham scored an empty-net goal from 70 yards out. The goal marked the second time in Beckham's career that he had scored from his own half, the other being a 1996 (20 years ago) goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park. Overall, however, the Galaxy had a disappointing year, failing to qualify for the end-of-season play-offs. After his return from Milan, many LA fans showed dislike and anger towards him as he missed the first half of the season and several held up signs saying "Go home fraud", and "Part time player".
Loan to Milan
In 2008 (8 years ago), Beckham's success in the England national team under Fabio Capello led to speculation that he may return to Europe in order to retain match fitness for the World Cup qualifying matches in 2009 (7 years ago). On 30 Oct. 2008 (8 years ago), AC Milan announced that Beckham was to join them on loan from 7 Jan. 2009 (7 years ago). Despite this and other speculation, Beckham made it clear that the move in no way signaled his intent to leave MLS and announced his intent to return to the Galaxy in time for the start of the 2009 (7 years ago) season in March. Many at Milan both within and outside of the club expressed serious reservations about the transfer, with it considered by some players no more than a marketing move. At Milan, he chose the number 32 shirt previously worn by Christian Vieri, as both the number 7 and 23 shirts were already used by other players. After his physical, Beckham was told by a club doctor that he believed he can continue playing football for another five years, when he will be 38.
Beckham made his Serie A debut for Milan against Roma on 11 Jan. 2009 (7 years ago) and played 89 minutes of the 2–2 draw. He scored his first goal in Serie A for Milan in a 4–1 victory over Bologna on 25 January, his third appearance for the club. Though Beckham was expected to return to L.A. in March, after impressing at the Italian club, scoring two goals in his first four matches and assisting on several more, rumors began to swirl that Beckham would stay in Milan, with the Italian club reportedly offering to pay a multi-million dollar fee for the English legend. The rumours were confirmed on 4 February, when Beckham stated that he was seeking a permanent transfer to Milan, in a bid to sustain his England career through the 2010 (6 years ago) World Cup. However, Milan failed to match Galaxy's valuation of Beckham, in the $10-15 million range.
However, negotiations continued during a month of speculation. On 2 March, the Los Angeles Times reported that Beckham's loan had been extended through mid-July. This was later confirmed by Beckham, revealing what was described as a unique "timeshare" deal, in which Beckham would play with L.A. from mid-July till the end of the 2009 (7 years ago) MLS season.
International careerBeckham as England captain.Beckham made his first appearance for the England national football team on 1 sep. 1996 (20 years ago), in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.
Beckham had played in all of England's qualifying matches for the 1998 (18 years ago) FIFA World Cup and was part of the England squad at the World Cup finals in France, but the team's manager Glenn Hoddle publicly accused him of not concentrating on the tournament, and he did not start in either of England's first two matches. He was picked for their third match against Colombia and scored from a long-range free kick in a 2–0 victory, which was his first goal for England.
In the second round (last 16) of that competition, he received a red card in England's match against Argentina. Beckham, after having been fouled by Diego Simeone, kicked Simeone whilst lying on the floor, striking him on the calf. 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, urging the referee to send Beckham off. The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout. Many supporters and journalists blamed him for England's elimination and he became the target of criticism and abuse, including the hanging of an effigy outside a London pub, and the Daily Mirror printing a dartboard with a picture (wallpaper) of him centred on the bullseye. Beckham also received death threats after the World Cup.
The abuse that Beckham was receiving from English supporters peaked during England's 3–2 defeat by Portugal in UEFA Euro 2000 (16 years ago), a match where Beckham set up two goals, when a group of England supporters taunted him throughout the match. Beckham responded by raising his middle finger and, while the gesture attracted some criticism, many of the newspapers that had previously encouraged his vilification asked their readers to stop abusing him.
On 15 Nov. 2000 (16 years ago), following Kevin Keegan's resignation as England manager in October, 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 (14 years ago) FIFA 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 6 Oct. 2001 (15 years ago). England needed to win or draw the match in order to qualify outright for the World Cup, but were losing 2–1 with little time remaining. When Teddy Sheringham was fouled eight yards (7 metres) outside the Greek penalty area, England were awarded a free-kick and Beckham ensured England's qualification with a curling strike of the kind that had become his trademark. Shortly afterwards, he was voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2001 (15 years ago). He once again finished runner-up, to Luís Figo of Portugal, for the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
Beckham was partially fit by the time of the 2002 (14 years ago) FIFA World Cup and played in the first match against Sweden. Beckham scored the winning goal of the match against Argentina with a penalty, causing Argentina to fail to qualify for the knockout stage. England were knocked out of the tournament in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Brazil. The following month, at the opening ceremony of the 2002 (14 years ago) Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Beckham escorted Kirsty Howard as she presented the Jubilee Baton to the Queen.
Beckham played in all of England's matches at UEFA Euro 2004 (12 years ago), 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.
Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Jan. 2005 (11 years ago) and was involved in promoting London's successful bid for the 2012 (4 years ago) Summer Olympic Games. In Oct. 2005 (11 years ago), Beckham's sending off against Austria made him the first ever England captain to be sent off and the first (and only) player to be sent off twice while playing for England. He captained England for the 50th time in a friendly international against Argentina the following month.
In England's opening game at the 2006 (10 years ago) FIFA World Cup, against Paraguay on 10 Jun. 2006 (10 years ago), Beckham's free kick led to an own-goal by Carlos Gamarra as England won 1–0. In England's next match, played against Trinidad and Tobago on 15 Jun. 2006 (10 years ago), Beckham's cross in the 83rd minute led to a Peter Crouch goal, which put England into the lead 1–0. Beckham gave another assist to Steven Gerrard. In the end they won 2–0. He was named Man of the Match by tournament sponsor Budweiser for this game.
During England's second round match against Ecuador, Beckham scored from a free kick in the 59th minute, becoming the first ever English player to score in three separate World Cups, and giving England a 1–0 victory and a place in the quarter-finals. He was sick before the game and vomited several times as a result of dehydration and illness after he scored the winning goal.
In the quarter-final against Portugal, Beckham was substituted following an injury shortly after half time and the England team went on to lose the match on penalties (3-1), the score having been 0–0 after extra time. After his substitution, Beckham was visibly shaken and emotional for not being able to play, being in tears at one point.
A day after England were knocked out of the World Cup, an emotional Beckham made a statement in a news conference saying that he had stepped down as England captain, saying, "It has been an honour and privilege to captain my country but, having been captain for 58 of my 95 games, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren." (Beckham had actually won 94 caps up to that point.) He was succeeded by Chelsea captain John Terry.
Having stepped down as captain after the World Cup, Beckham was dropped completely from the England national team selected by new coach Steve McClaren on 11 Aug. 2006 (10 years ago). McClaren claimed that he was "looking to go in a different direction" with the team, and that Beckham "wasn't included within that." McClaren said Beckham could be recalled in future. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Kieran Richardson, and the World Cup alternative to Beckham, Aaron Lennon, were all included, although McClaren eventually opted to employ Steven Gerrard in that role.
Beckham takes the free kick against Brazil from which John Terry scored.On 26 May 2007 (9 years ago), McClaren announced that Beckham would be recalled to the England squad for the first time since stepping down as their captain. Beckham started against Brazil in England's first match at the new Wembley Stadium and put in a positive performance. In the second half, he set up England's goal converted by captain John Terry. It looked as though England would claim victory over Brazil, but newcomer Diego equalised in the dying seconds. In England's next match, a Euro 2008 (8 years ago) qualifier against Estonia, Beckham sent two trademark assists for Michael Owen and Peter Crouch, helping England to prevail 3-0.
Beckham had assisted in three of England's four total goals in those two games, and he stated his desire to continue to play for England after his move to Major League Soccer.
On 22 Aug. 2007 (9 years ago), Beckham played in a friendly for England against Germany, becoming the first ever to play for England while with a non-European club team. On 21 Nov. 2007 (9 years ago), Beckham earned his 99th cap against Croatia, setting up a goal for Peter Crouch to tie the game at 2–2. Following the 2–3 loss, England failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 (8 years ago) Finals. Despite this, Beckham said that he has no plans to retire from international football and wanted to continue playing for the national team. After being passed over by new England coach and Beckham's former manager at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello, for a friendly against Switzerland which would have given him his hundredth cap; Beckham admitted that he was not in shape at the time, as he had not played a competitive match in three months.
On 20 Mar. 2008 (8 years ago), Beckham was recalled to the England squad by Capello for the friendly against France in Paris on 26 March. Beckham became only the fifth Englishman to win 100 caps. Capello had hinted on 25 Mar. 2008 (8 years ago) that Beckham had a long term future in his side ahead of crucial qualifiers for the 2010 (6 years ago) FIFA World Cup. On 11 May 2008 (8 years ago), Capello included an in-form Beckham in his 31 man England squad to face the United States at Wembley Stadium on 28 May before the away fixture with Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June. Beckham was honored before the match by receiving an honorary gold cap representing his 100th cap from Bobby Charlton, and was given a standing ovation from the crowd. He played well and assisted John Terry on the match-winning goal. When substituted at half-time for David Bentley, the pro-Beckham crowd booed the decision. In a surprise move, Capello handed Beckham the captaincy for England's friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 Jun. 2008 (8 years ago). The match was the first time since the 2006 (10 years ago) World Cup that Beckham had skippered England and marked a dramatic turnaround for Beckham. In two years, he had gone from being dropped completely from the England squad to being reinstated (though temporarily) as England captain.
During the 2010 (6 years ago) World Cup Qualifier against Belarus in which England won 3-1 in Minsk, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap making him England's 3rd highest capped player in history, over-taking Bobby Charlton in the process. On 11 Feb. 2009 (7 years ago), Beckham drew level with Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an English outfield player, coming on as a substitute for Stewart Downing in a friendly match against Spain. On 28 Mar. 2009 (7 years ago), Beckham surpassed Moore to hold the record outright when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Slovakia, providing the assist for a goal from Wayne Rooney in the process.
Awards and nominations
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