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David Beckham

David BeckhamHe was born May 2, 1975 in Leytonstone, London, to Ted and Sandra Beckham - two Manchester United supporters who often took the young David to see their favorite team play.

David Beckham was all of 15 when he signed on with Manchester United as a trainee, helping to win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992.

His Premier League debut eventually came in 1995 at age 19. The following year his star performance came with his most famous goal - from the halfway line against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park which later made the list of 100 Greatest Sporting Moments.

His most notable season followed in 1998-99 when he helped Man United win the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions league.

Since then, Beckham's rise to stardom continues to rest on his remarkable freekick skills which some fans liken to physical genius. His much-publicized marriage in 1999 to Spice Girl and media celebrity Victoria Adams, (a.k.a. Posh Spice) only added to his aura of Hollywood celebrity.

If Beckham was not a household name internationally by 2002, it almost certainly was following the hit movie, Bend It Like Beckham, released that year in which a young female soccer player follows her dream to be a soccer great.

In 2004, Beckham signed a 4-year contract with Real Madrid of Spain worth up to $41 million in salary and endorsements. He lived up to all the hoopla, improving upon his Man United stats by scoring five times in his first 16 matches, and engratiating himself with the Real Madrid fans.

However, overall his recent performance has been less than stellar, and following England's defeat at the 2006 World Cup Beckham stepped down as captain.

In January 2007 he was in negotiations with Real Madrid about a new contract but also discussed a spot with American major league soccer for a possible jump to a US team after this season.

Already the owner of a soccer school in Los Angeles, the David Beckham Academy, he finally made a much-reported announcement of a new five-year contract with the LA Galaxy team on January 11, 2006. The total $250 million deal translates to $1 million a week - the biggest in world sport.

What this may mean for Beckham's career remains to be seen, but the move to America can only help put a struggling Major League Soccer on the world map.

Beckham will eventually make the jump to the U.S. team after his contract expires with Real Madrid in June.

On a personal note, the Beckhams announced the birth of their third son, Cruz, in 2005. First son, Brooklyn, is now five and Romeo is two.


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