- Full name David Beckham
- Birth date May 2, 1975
- Birth place Leytonstone, London
- Current age 38 years 18 days
- Height 5 ft 11 in
One of the most recognisable sportsmen on the planet, Beckham has enjoyed the spotlight since making his Premier League debut for Manchester United in 1995. Cast as both hero and villain during his career, he was taunted and abused after being sent off against Argentina in 1998, but won back the public's affection and rose to captain his country.
Emerging through the youth ranks at Old Trafford, Beckham quickly confirmed his potential as a superstar with his dazzling range of passing skills and deadly free-kick ability. Establishing himself on the right side of midfield, he won six league titles and two FA Cups during his time in England, while he was also part of the famous treble winning side of 1999.
His role as World Cup villain saw his face his toughest challenge, but gaining the armband and sealing qualification to the 2002 event with a last-gasp free-kick against Greece he overcame his demons and played a pivotal role in the following years.
A £25 million move to Real Madrid in 2003 confirmed his status as one of the best players in the world, but it was not his happiest time and he only picked up the La Liga title in his last year. Choosing to move to the MLS with the LA Galaxy in 2007, Beckham became a figurehead for American soccer, but caused controversy when he decided to join AC Milan on loan during the off-season. Picking up an Achilles injury a few months before the 2010 World Cup, he suffered heartache again in his career and missed out.
However, upon his return Beckham helped the Galaxy to their second successive Western Conference title and first MLS Supporters' Shield since 2002, before spending the MLS off-season training withTottenham.
With his England career effectively over, Beckham made no secret of his desire to captain Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics only to be overlooked by manager Stuart Pearce for one of the three senior roles in the predominantly Under-23 side.
Beckham ended his six-year LA Galaxy career on a high, winning the MLS Cup in his final game for the club as he set off in search of 'one last challenge' before retirement. He was unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player in January 2013, making his debut for the Ligue 1 side in February.
Strengths: An incredible crosser of the ball, Beckham has the ability to put the ball where he wants it and creates numerous scoring chances with his vision. He also boasts one of the deadliest free kicks in the business.
Weaknesses: A lack of pace has hindered his impact somewhat at the highest level.
Career high: Captaining England and sealing their progress to the 2002 World Cup with a last-minute free-kick winner against Greece.
Career low: Being sent off for flicking out at Argentina's Diego Simeone at the 1998 World Cup and consequently becoming the subject of a nation's abuse for his behaviour. Missing out on the 2010 World Cup through injury was also a crushing blow.
Style: Hard working, unselfish, inspirational and a real team player.
Quotes: "The spotlight will always be on me, but it's something I'm learning to live with as the years go by." David Beckham, April 2009.
Trivia: Beckham holds the English appearance record for an outfield player, beating Bobby Moore's haul of 108 caps when he played against Slovakia in March 2009.
- Ancelotti tips Beckham for management (May 19, 2013)
- Beckham says he's probably played his last game (May 19, 2013)
- Beckham in tears as career closes (May 18, 2013)
- Right time for Beckham to retire, says Ferguson (May 18, 2013)
'A British king abdicates' - World's media reacts to Becks (May 17, 2013)