David Robert Joseph Beckham, OBE (born 2 May 1975) is an English footballer who plays midfield for Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer,having previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, and A.C. Milan, as well as the England national team, for whom he holds the all-time appearance record for an outfield player.
Beckham's career began when he signed a professional contract with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 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. He left Manchester United to sign for Real Madrid in 2003, where he remained for four seasons,clinching the La Liga championship in his final season with the club. In January 2007, it was announced that Beckham would leave Real Madrid for the Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy,signing a five-year contract with them on 1 July 2007. While a Galaxy player, he spent two loan spells in Italy with Milan in 2009 and 2010.
In international football, Beckham made his England debut on 1 September 1996, at the age of 21. He was made captain from 15 November 2000 until the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals, during which he played 58 times. He earned a much-publicised hundredth cap against France on 26 March 2008, and became the all-time outfield player appearance record holder on 28 March 2009 when he surpassed Bobby Moore's total of 108 caps. With 115 career appearances to date he has stated that he does not intend to retire from international football, having missed the 2010 World Cup through injury and not featuring in England manager Fabio Capello's post-World Cup plans.
Beckham has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year and in 2004 was the world's highest-paid footballer when taking into account salary and advertising deals.Beckham was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League matches. He is third in the Premier League's all time time assist provider chart, with 152 assists in 265 appearances. He was Google's most searched of all sports topics in both 2003 and 2004. With such global recognition he has become an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon. When joining the MLS in 2007 he was given the highest player salary in the league's history, with his playing contract with the Galaxy over the next three years being worth US$6.5m per year.
Childhood and early career
Beckham was born at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, London, England. He is the son of Sandra Georgina (née West) (b. 1949), a hairdresser, and David Edward Alan "Ted" Beckham (b. Edmonton, London, July–September 1948), a kitchen fitter, who married at the London Borough of Hackney in 1969, He regularly played football in Ridgeway Park, Chingford, as a child, and attended Chase Lane Primary School and Chingford Foundation School. In a 2007 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."Beckham's maternal grandfather was Jewish, and Beckham has referred to himself as "half Jewish" and wrote in his autobiography "I've probably had more contact with Judaism than with any other religion". In his book Both Feet on the Ground, he stated that growing up he attended church every week with his parents and his older sister, Lynne Georgina and younger sister, Joanne Louise
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. 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. 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 July 1991.
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, 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, although he did not play in any first team games that season.
On 7 December 1994, 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 April 1995, in a goal-less draw against Leeds United. He played four times for United in the league that season, as they finished second behind Blackburn Rovers and missed a third successive Premier League title by a single point. He was not in the squad for United's FA Cup final clash with Everton on 20 May, which they lost 1–0 and were left without a major trophy for the first time since 1989.
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United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had a great deal of confidence in the club's young players. Beckham was part of a group of young talents Ferguson brought in to United in the 1990s (known as "Fergie'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 would not 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 March and they remained top until the end of the season.
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 UEFA Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, since United's first string centre-midfielders Paul Scholes and Roy Keane 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, Beckham was 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, 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.
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