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David Beckham - MLS ace and global icon

In the final installment of Marcus Banks' three part series including Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, he assesses England's own David Beckham. Living legend and worldwide celebrity, at 37 years of age he is still going strong for LA Galaxy in the United States.

Who hasn’t heard of the name David Beckham? Whether it's from his playing days as Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, LA Galaxy or even Preston; Beckham is a global superstar. Currently in America playing for Los Angeles Galaxy, he holds the record for England, being their most capped outfield player.

After suffering an Achilles tendon injury while at AC Milan on loan, Beckham missed the MLS season and the World Cup but returned in September 2010. Beckham netted a trademark free-kick a month later against Chivas, marking his first goal in 2010.

20 days later, he scored his second goal of the season against Dallas which secured Galaxy their second successive Western Conference title and their first MLS Supporters Shield since 2002.

Beckham to Tottenham?

Ahead of the new season during January and February 2011, Beckham trained with Tottenham Hotspur. Rumours swirled around the media with reports of Harry Redknapp wanting to sign him on loan. The move was blocked by Galaxy who wanted a full season from their 36 year old talisman. ‘Golden Balls’ continued to train with Spurs but returned to the USA and won the 2011 MLS Cup.

‘Becks’ scored his first goal of the season against Sporting Kansas City with a signature free-kick from 30 yards on 15th May 2011 in the 4-1 win. Beckham then scored directly from a corner in July repeating the feat he achieved whilst playing for Preston North End.

Beckham had his best season for Galaxy and after finishing second in the assists league, he ended his fifth season on a high. Beckham became one of an elite group of players to have won three titles in three different countries when LA won the MLS Cup.

Second consequetive Supporters Shield

Following the 2011 season, Galaxy won their second consecutive Supporters Shield, having the second highest point total in MLS history. Beckham’s five year contract in the states expired on 31 December 2011, but the former England captain didn’t intent to retire. French giants Paris Saint Germain where heavily linked with a move and Beckham entered negotiations before eventually signing a new two year contract with Americans.

Beckham’s fantastic history continues beyond the pitch. He and his wife Victoria Beckham, formerly a member of the Spice Girls, are icons around the world. Beckham became a fashion plate and was sought after by dozens of high end companies. The couple have brought out a new line of fragrances which set them back a hefty £13.4 million to brand across the world. David also appears on numerous US magazine covers and upon his arrival to Galaxy, a private welcoming party was launched including guests such as Steven Speilberg, George Clooney, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith all attending.

Beckham’s endorsements make him a well-known face around the globe after appearing on Coca Cola, IBM and Pepsi. Beckham has also been the spearhead of various video games such as David Beckham Soccer and Go! Go! Beckham. He was recently named as a global ambassador for EA Sports. Beckham has also appeared in a short cameo in the movie The Goal Trilogy.

Trip to Afghanistan

Away from all the fame, parties and huge endorsements, Beckham embarked on a morale-boosting trip to Afghanistan to visit British troops in May 2010. The appearance of Beckham lifted the spirit but also prompted an attack from the Taliban.

Beckham also has a strong association with global charity UNICEF and has been with them since his playing days at Manchester United in 2005. As well as Lionel Messi, Beckham he is a global ambassador for the charity. He is also a spokesperson for Malaria No More who are a non-profitable organisation aimed at eliminating malaria in Africa. He has appeared in numerous adverts promoting the need for inexpensive bed nets to protect against the deadly insects.

Beckham’s football stretches off the pitch as after missing the 2010 World Cup through injury, Beckham would work as a mediator from management to players and was involved in the coaching of the 2010 squad that travelled to South Africa. Beckham is an outside candidate to be the next England manager but his playing career could dash his dim chances.

Beckham is an inspiration to all young players. Deadly from set pieces, one of the best crossers in the game, there are some names in football you never forgot; ‘David Beckham’ falls perfectly into that category.

By Marcus Banks

To view part two: Cristiano Ronaldo, Can he become the best? Click here
To view part one: Lionel Messi, the best player in the world click here

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