Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
David Robert Joseph Beckham OBE (born May 2, 1975) is an English footballer born in Leytonstone, London. He is 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 married to former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. He has played most of his career for Manchester United.
Manchester United 1995-2003
Beckham first signed a YTS (youth training scheme) contract (this is similar to an apprenticeship) with United in 1991, and made his League debut in 1995, aged 19. The next year he came to wider public notice when playing against Wimbledon having spotted the opposition goalkeeper had come forward he kicked a lob from the halfway line that went over the keeper into the net. As the controversial Eric Cantona was suspended for a large part of the 1995-96 season due to an assault on a spectator Beckham became the focus of the Manchester United marketing effort and 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. Begining with the 2001-02 season the relationship between Ferguson and Beckham began to deteriorate though the factors contributing to this had less to do with Beckham's performance on the pitch and more to do with the continual pressures of agents and sponsors and a continuous series of leaked stories apparently originating from Victoria Beckham. This conflict reached a peak during the 2002-3 season with 'The Battle of the Boot' when after loosing a match to Arsenal an enraged Fergusson reportedly castigated team members in the dressing room and then kicked a football boot that struck Beckham over the eye requiring stitches. After this episode transfer stories appearing to originate with Victoria were rife linking Beckham with Chelsea and Barcelona. Beckham's last match for Manchester United was the Champions League semi-final second leg at Old Trafford against Real Madrid in which although only brought on for the last half of the match he still scored twice including a goal from open play. In total, Beckham scored 86 goals in 397 games for Man United, a rate of roughly 2 goals every 9 games, highly commendable for a midfielder.
Real Madrid 2003-present
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 until now 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.
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 has 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 favourite of the notoriously fickle Real Madrid crowd, and established an excellent playing relationship with Ronaldo.
International Career - England
By 1998 he was a regular international, and travelled with the England squad to the 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), and his performance was negatively contrasted with that of Michael Owen, but much merely gratuitous including being burnt in effigy. Piers Morgan the then editor of the Daily Mirror later apologised for some of the harsher criticism. Most commentators were mollified when it became public that the then England Manager Glen Hoddle supported a number of new age beliefs and practices that had created some conflict in the England team camp. 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 (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 workrate helped England to qualify for the 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.
Two months before the start of the 2002 World Cup Finals Beckham was injured during a Champions League match breaking the metatarsal bones of his left foot. It was a cause of some controversy as the player that caused the injury was Argentinian and as England had already been drawn against them in the group stage the British Press speculated the injury was deliberate to 'hobble' England's star player. After the miracle of the win in Munich expectations for the England squad were high but even though Beckham was declared match fit for the first match against Sweden he had only had limited training. Despite a good first half and taking the leading England faded in the second half and Beckham was substituted with England drawing 1-1 with Sweden. The stage was then set for the showdown with Argentina. During the charged first half Owen won a penalty and when Beckham stepped forward to take it he was approached by Simeone but who was ignored. Beckham struck a clean penalty and then England hung on to win the match and then went on to draw 0-0 with Nigeria. The second round match against Denmark saw Beckham contribute to two goals from set pieces against a lacklustre side. The quarter final against Brazil again saw England start strongly with Michael Owen's brilliant individual effort but then faded after conceding a goal due to a clear error by the keeper David Seaman. During the second half Beckham pulled out of a crucial challenge that led directly to Ronaldinho's goal that sent England out of the competition.
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. As with his performance in 1998 Beckham was negatively compared with the rising stars of the England 2004 team Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard and in some sectors it was speculated that the revelations about his private life earlier that year contributed to a poor performance.
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.com, which announced that it plans to exhibit the ball around the world for charitable purposes.
Beckham again found himself the centre of self-inflicted controversy following the match against Wales as part of the 2006 World Cup Qualifying Round. After scoring a brilliant goal from open play to give England a 2 - 0 lead Beckham then received a yellow card for a body checking foul on a Wales defender that saw the other player stretchered off and Beckham being substituted with a fractured rib. As this was the second yellow card he had received in the qualifying competition he was banned from the next match. Beckham later admitted that the foul had been intentional to ensure he would not carry forward a yellow card to the later qualifying stage even though he would miss the next England match. While some praised Beckham for his honesty others questioned his judgement considering his status as a role model for younger players.
Beckham's celebrity lifestyle
Beckham's highly publicised 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 three sons, Brooklyn, born March 4, 1999, Romeo, born September 1, 2002, and Cruz, born February 20, 2005. Beckham is well-known for his frequent hairstyle changes and, since being criticised for influencing teenagers' hairstyles has changed it many times.
In 1998 Beckham was pictured wearing a Sarong while on holiday with Victoria that resulted in much British media comment and created a Characterisation of David Beckham as a well meaning and likeable innocent often embarrassed by Victoria's interest in her own celebrity. This image was fixed early on in the pairs relationship when Victoria admitted she had little interest in Football. The British comedians Alistair McGowan and Roni Ancona have fashioned a popular impersonation of the couple that reinforces this characterisation.
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.
Following his move to Real Madrid and the disappointment of Euro 2004 British media interest in the Beckham's has faded despite the alleged affair with Loos. In December 2004 the announcement of plans for the christening of their two children even though neither are held to be strongly religious were received with some ridicule including the construction of a fake Gothic chapel for £120,000 on the grounds of their Berkshire estate. Despite their sometimes 'gauche' lifestyle Beckham is well regarded as a father figure role model and supporting a number of charity causes.
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 2003 his fame was evident when Staffordshire University provided a university course about the star.
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 rumours 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 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 rumours, 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.
In 2005, Beckham started dropping hints that he may yet leave Madrid, expressing frustration with paparazzi harassing his family. Perhaps inspired by these hints, and as an April Fool's joke, Bayern Munich announced on its official Web site that it was set to sign Beckham to a three-year deal, effective with the 2005-06 season. Spokespeople for Bayern freely admitted that the report was a hoax.
- Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground; by David Beckham & Tom Watt (ISBN 0060570938)
- Beckham: My World; by David Beckham & Dean Freeman (ISBN 0340792701)
- David Beckham: My Side; by David Beckham
- David Feckham: My Backside; by Ivor Baddiel and Jonny Zucker
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details