David Beckham

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The boy from East London first made everyone sit up and take notice when he scored a wonder goal on the first day of the 1995/6 English football season. In lobbing a 60-yard belter from inside his own half to beat Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan, he marked the arrival of a football phenomenon.

Born in Leytonstone on May 2, 1975, David Robert Joseph Beckham was a Manchester United fan from a very early age. He even insisted on wearing a Red Devils shirt when training with London club Tottenham Hotspur as a schoolboy. The admiration was mutual the biggest football club in the world had its eye on the young player and, aged 16, he signed as a trainee with Man U.

The skinny teenager rose from cleaning the first team's boots to a spell in the reserves, before making his league debut in 1995, just a month shy of his 20th birthday. But it wasn't until 1997 that he really emerged into the spotlight when he met and fell for Spice Girl Victoria Adams, commonly known as Posh.

The attraction between the couple was instant, and ten months after embarking upon a relationship they announced their engagement. "I've met the man I know I'm going to grow old and wrinkly with," enthused Victoria.

David could do no wrong until the 1998 England/Argentina match in France. The golden boy of English football was sent off early in the second half for a petulant kick against Argentinian player Diego Simeone. England was out on penalties and Beckham's name was mud.

Following the match, David flew straight to New York where the Spice Girls were on tour. And it was here the couple's son Brooklyn Joseph was reportedly conceived.

Beckham junior kicked off life on March 4, 1999, after being delivered by caesarean section at London's Portland Hospital. Four months later his parents tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at Dublin's Luttrelstown Castle. Brooklyn was joined by second son Romeo on September 1, 2002, with the third Beckham son, Cruz, making his debut in early 2005. In January 2011, the couple announced they were expecting their fourth child in the summer.

In November 2003 David received what he described as his "best" honour - an OBE from the Queen. "It's not just for me but for Manchester United, England, all of my teammates and my family," he said.

The same year it was announced the devoted Manchester United fan would be leaving his beloved club and moving to Madrid-based Spanish team Real Madrid on a four-year contract.

Another monumental decision came just after England bowed out of the 2006 World Cup for the second time in the quarter-final stages. The soccer ace announced he was to step down as captain of the squad - a role he held for six years. "It has been an honour and a privilege to captain our country and I wish to stress that I want to continue to play for England," he declared.

The success enjoyed by David on the football pitch was perhaps only equalled by that of "Brand Beckham". Marketing initiatives based on his iconic status included an aftershave as well as lucrative sponsorship deals - with the likes of Gilette, Pepsi and Motorola.

Keen to pass on his love for 'the beautiful game', David has also branched out into establishing football academies for young people in both the UK and the United States. The footballing star, who transferred to play at Los Angeles Galaxy in July 2007, is hoping that his move will start to increase the game's popularity Stateside.

Since moving to LA both him and wife Victoria have become incredibly popular, mainly due to David’s success at his new team. Not only have the family enjoyed success in the States, but they also welcomed their first baby girl into their family whilst there. Baby Harper Seven was born in Los Angeles in July 2011.

More recently, David has launched his own range of men's underwear with high street store H&M. This venture has seen the footballer teaming up with film director Guy Ritchie to film one of the adverts for his range. David also regularly feature in the style spotlight for his fashion choices and his collection of tattoos has also become one of his most talked-about features.
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