He showed promise as a footballer at an early age, winning the coveted Bobby Charlton Soccer Schools National Skills competition aged 11. His talent soon caught the eye of the Manchester United team's officials, who asked him to try out for the club's youth league.
By the age of 16, Beckham had left home and was playing for United's training division. Two years later, he made it to the club, and by 1995, he had become a full-time starter for his parents' favorite club. He was the part of the group of young players which also included Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes. They were trained by coach Eric Harrison and helped the club win the FA Youth Cup in May 1992.
David gave a brilliant performance in the Cup, scoring his second goal in the 30th minute of during a match against Crystal Palace on 14 April 1992. Then, in the 2nd match the team played, which was held on May 15, Beckham played full 90 minutes, helping win the match 3-2 In favor of Manchester United with an aggregate of 6-3.
During the 1994-1995 season, Beckham went to Preston North End on loan to get some first-team experience. There he impressed people by scoring two goals in five appearances, along with a notable goal scored directly from a corner kick. On April 2, 1995, Beckham again returned to Manchester United to make his first Premier League debut for the club in a goal-less draw against Leeds.
The decision to allow Beckham to play in the Premier League drew a lot of flacks, especially when, towards the end of 1995, experienced players like Paul Ince, Mark Hughes, and Andrei Kanchelskis left the club. Instead of buying star players from other clubs, the club management decided to replace them with players like Beckham, who had mostly played for the youth team until then.
With criticism pouring in from all sides, United started the season with a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa, with Beckham scoring United’s only goal of the game. However, United went on to recover from this early-season defeat and the young players performed well.
Beckham swiftly established himself as United’s right-sided midfielder and helped the team win the Premier League title and FA Cup double that season. By the 1996-67 season, he had become the club's first choice, helping them retain the Premier League championship title and was voted PFA Young Player of the Year by his peers. In the beginning of that season, Beckham was given the number 10 shirt that had earlier been worn by Mark Hughes.
David soon gained fame in the no 10 jerseys when, on 17 August 1996, United won the one-sided 2-0 match against Wimbledon. The match saw one of Beckham's most iconic goals which, shot from the halfway line, floated over the goalkeeper and into the net.
In 1998-99, season, he was part of the United team that won the treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and Championship League, a unique feat in English football. There were speculations that the criticism that Beckham had received earlier after being sent off in the World Cup would lead to him leaving England for his club career, but Beckham decided to stay at Manchester United.
In the 1999 UEFA Championship League final, Beckham played in central midfield in United’s win over Bayern Munich, after United’s center midfielders Paul Scholes and Roy Keane were suspended from the match.
United was losing the match by 1-0 at the end of normal time but won the trophy by scoring two goals during injury time. Both goals came from the corner taken by Beckham. Those crucial assists, coupled with great performances over the rest of the season, led to him finishing runner-up to Rivaldo for 1999’s European Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
By 2000, he was already a household name all over the world and a legend among football fans and players alike. In fact, the 2002 poll conducted by Channel 4 showed that the British public considered Beckham's goal No.18 to be among the 100 greatest sporting moments. During 1996-97 season, Beckham became an automatic first-choice player at Manchester United
But by then, the relationship between Alex Ferguson, Manchester United's boss, and Beckham had begun to deteriorate possibly because Beckham's hand not been able to fulfill his footballing commitment with increasing fame and popularity as well as the additional duties brought upon by the birth of his first son, Brooklyn. In fact, he secured permission to miss training to look after his son, who was suffering from gastroenteritis.
On April 10, 2002, Beckham was injured during a Champions League match against Deportivo de La Coruna, breaking the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. There were rumors in the British media that it might have been caused deliberately, as the player who injured Beckham was Argentine Aldo Duscher, and England and Argentina were due met in that year’s World Cup.
The injury prevented Beckham from playing for United for the rest of the season and it missed out on the Premier League title to Arsenal. The income from his new contract, and his many endorsement deals made him the highest-paid player in the world at the time.
Beckham made 265 Premier League appearances for United and scored 61 goals. He also made 81 Championship league appearances, scoring 15 goals. Beckham won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FA Youth Cup in the space of 12 years
As the 2003 transfer window approached, Manchester United seemed keen to sell Beckham to Barcelona and the two clubs even went as far as announcing that they had reached a deal for Beckham’s transfer. But instead of joining Barcelona, Beckham joined the other Spanish champion Real Madrid for $35 million on a four-year contract.
The news came as a bitter blow to the newly elected Barcelona president Joan Laporta, whose bid to the club's top job was based much on signing Beckham. Though announced in mid-June, Beckham's transfer to Madrid was completed on 1 July 2003, making him the third Englishman to play for the club after Laurie Cunningham and Steve McManaman.
On 2 July, following a successful medical examination, Beckham was unveiled in front of 500 accredited journalists from 25 countries at Real’s basketball facility, where he was handed the famous white shirt by club legend Alfredo Di Stefano. Although Beckham had worn the number seven shirt for Manchester United and England, he was unable to wear it at Madrid as it was currently assigned to club captain Raul, and he decided to wear number 23 instead.
In late July 2003, the club went on a tour of the Far East as part of the pre-season training to capitalize on Beckham’s huge marketing appeal in Asia where he enjoyed a tremendous fan following. Real’s brand recognition in that part of the globe was already well established, as the club had made financially successful trips to Asia during previous off-seasons. However, the presence of a global marketing icon like Beckham made this particular tour a financial smash for the club.
It was during this period that Beckham ended his relationship with his agent Tony Stephens, of SFX Europe, who had guided him through his career up until this point, including helping to engineer Beckham’s move from Manchester to Madrid. He subsequently signed with Simon Fuller and his company 19 Entertainment, which, until then, was managing the career of Victoria.
In late August 2003, Real Madrid won the Spanish Super Cup over two legs versus RCD Mallorca, with Beckham scoring the final goal in a 3-0 return leg win at home while playing on a star-laden team, which included three former FIFA World of the Year recipients like Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and Luis Figo. Beckham did not require much time to settle in and ended up scoring five times in his first 16 matches for the club.
But the team's overall performance was not satisfactory. Real Madrid was runner-up in the Copa del Rey, were knocked out of the UEFA championship League at the quarter-final stage and finished the league season in the fourth place, disappointing club president Perez, who expected them to win either the Spanish league or Champions League each season.
The league season began with the new head coach Jose Antonio Camacho behind the bench, but he ended up lasting only three matches, handing in his resignation after Real dropped to the eighth spot in the La Liga standings.
On 9 October 2004, when Beckham admitted to intentionally fouling Ben Thatcher in England's match against Wales, he was booked and received not only a one-match suspension but also picked up an injury, which kept him on the bench during England's next match.
The English Football Association asked Beckham for an explanation of his action and he admitted that he had ‘made a mistake’ and apologized. He was sent off shortly afterward, this time in a league match between Real Madrid and Valencia. Having received a yellow card, he was judged to have sarcastically applauded the referee and was given a second yellow card, causing an automatic dismissal, although the suspension was canceled on appeal.
Real also saw Garcia Remon's exit, shortly after head coach Camacho left the club, and Vanderlei Luxemburgo became the head coach by Christmas 2004, with the team sitting in the second league spot. On December 3, 2005, Beckham was sent off for the third time that season in a league match against Getafe CF. By the end of that season, Luxemburgo got the axe and was replaced with Juan Ramon Lopez Caro.
In January 2006, Perez resigned as the president of Real Madrid and Vicente Boluda was named as a replacement on an interim basis until the end of the season.
The summer of 2006 saw Real making a slight change in its team makeup with the speedier Jose Antonio Reyes being preferred on the wing to Beckham. But that did not bring bout any improvement. In the first nine matches Beckham started, Real lost seven.
On January 10, 2007, after a prolonged contract negotiation, Real Madrid’s sporting director Predrag Mijativic announced the Beckham would not remain at Real Madrid after the end of the season. However, he later claimed that he was mistranslated and that he actually said Beckham’s contract had not yet been renewed.
Beckham announced that he had signed a five-year deal to play for LA Galaxy beginning from 1 July 2007. On 13 January 2007, Fabio Capello said that Beckham had played his last game for Real Madrid.
But Capello backtracked on his earlier statement and issued a new one on February 10, 2007, allowing Beckham to rejoin the team until the end of the league season. The English winger soon appeared in a match against Real Sociedad. He immediately repaid his head coach’s trust by scoring the equalizing goal from a 27-yard free kick as Real Madrid eventually recorded a 2-1 victory.
The last day of the La Liga season saw Beckham secure a 3-1 win for his club over Mallorca. This helped them clinch the league title from Barcelona. But before the final victory, on 17 June 2007, with Real down by 0-1, Beckham limped off the field and was replaced by Jose Antonio Reyes, who scored two goals to seal the team's victory in that season’s La Liga.
Although Real and Barca both finished level on points, Madrid took the title because of superior head-to-head record, finally capping a remarkable six-month turnaround for Beckham.
But Real did not fare well in the UEFA Champions League that year. It was knocked out of the competition by Bayern Munich despite Beckham playing a pivotal role in all three Madrid goals in the home game, with Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn describing his performance as “World Class”.
A month after the conclusion of Beckham’s Real career, Forbes magazine reported that he had been the party primarily responsible for the team’s huge increase in merchandise sales, a total reported top US$600 million during Beckham’s four years at the club.
Beckham’s involvement with Major League Soccer (MLS) began on January 11, 2007, when it was confirmed that he would be leaving Madrid in six months to join the MLS side LA Galaxy (he was still a Real Madrid player until then).
Though many worldwide media outlets reported the deal to be worth US$250 million, the astronomical figure was soon revealed to be something of a PR stunt engineered by Beckham’s media handlers to maximize the media.
Beckham’s actual deal with Galaxy, as mentioned in his five-year contract, was worth US$32.5 million ($6.5 million every year).
The high-profile acquisition paid immediate financial dividends for Galaxy, with the club being able to pull off a five-year, US$20-million shirt-sponsorship deal with Herbalife Nutrition Company. Additionally, LA Galaxy owners Anschutz Entertainment Group saw an immediate spike in its business, with the company expanding its reach to Shanghai and Beijing, where it signed deals to run arenas and stadiums, leveraging solely on Beckham's popularity.
On 13 July, two days after Beckham’s contract with LA Galaxy finally took effect, the famous Englishman was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player at the Home Depot Center to much fanfare in front of more than 5,000 fans and some 700 accredited media members.
The day after the debut, a welcoming party was organized for the Beckham at LA's Museum of Contemporary Art. Attended by a bevy of Hollywood A-listers, the lavish bash was big news in American tabloids. it was covered by Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.
On 9 August, two weeks after his 12-minute appearance against Chelsea, Beckham finally made his league debut as a substitute against D.C. United. Beckham left his mark in the game, hitting a long free kick that Carlos Pavon failed to finish for the equalizer, despite losing 1–0 to D.C. United.
Injury followed Beckham to Galaxy, where he injured his right knee during the SuperLiga final against Pachuca. An MRI scan later revealed that he had sprained his medial collateral ligament. He was out for six weeks. On 21 October, Galaxy was eliminated from the playoff contention in the final MLS match of the season when it suffered a 1-0 loss to Chicago Fire.
On January 4, 2008, Beckham trained with Arsenal for three weeks until he returned to Galaxy for pre-season training. He scored his first league goal on April 3 against San Jose Earthquakes in the ninth minute.
Beckham's success In the English national team under Fabio Capello led to speculation that he might return to Europe in 2008, to retain match fitness for the World Cup qualifying matches of 2009.
Milan announced that Beckham was to join them in a loan from January 2009, despite Beckham making it clear that the move was only temporary and that he intended to return to Galaxy in time for the 2009 league.
During his stay in Milan, Beckham chose the number 32 shirt previously worn by Christian Vieri, as both number 7 and 23 shirts were already used by Alexandre Pato. Beckham was also reportedly told by an AC Milan club doctor that he could continue playing football for another five years, up to the age of 38.
Playing his first competitive match in almost three months, Beckham gave a decent performance in right midfield alongside Pirlo. A noticeably older team, Ancelotti-coached Milan was proving a good fit for the 33-year-old Englishman. He scored his first goal in Series A for Milan in a 4-1 victory over Bologna on 25 January.
On February 4, Beckham said that he was seeking a permanent transfer to Milan in a bid to sustain his national football career through the 2010 World Cup. However, Milan failed to match Galaxy’s valuation of Beckham, which was somewhere between US$ 10-15 million.
After returning to Galaxy from Milan, many LA fans showed their dislike and anger towards him as he missed the first half of the season. Nonetheless, he remained a key part of the squad that saw Galaxy win the 2009 Western Conference final.
Subsequently, it was confirmed that Beckham would return to Milan for a second loan period beginning in January 2010. This time around, Beckham came face to face with his old club Manchester United. The match went in favor of United, who were dominant throughout the match, even as Beckham created several scoring opportunities via crosses and corner kicks. Manchester beat Milan by 4–0 in the match.
In Milan’s next game, against Chievo, Beckham suffered a torn left Achilles tendon, causing him to miss the World Cup as well as the MLS seasons due to injury, which took him out of action for the next five months.
After the operation, it was revealed that he would need to rest for the next few months, with the plaster cast being removed after more than 6 weeks. After recovering from his Achilles tendon injury on 11 September 2010, Beckham returned to LA Galaxy again, making his appearance as a substitute in the 70th minute in the match that his side clinched with a 3–1 win over Columbus Crew.
Beckham trained with Tottenham Hotspur during January and February 2011, ahead of the MLS season, while rumors swirled that the club was in talks with Galaxy to sign the player on loan.
On 15 May, Beckham scored his first goal of the season for Galaxy from a 30-yard free kick, in a 4–1 victory over Sporting Kansas City. The 2011 season was his best with Galaxy. Galaxy won their second consecutive Supporter's Shield that year, the second time any club did so in MLS history.
Beckham helped Galaxy to a fourth-place finish in the MLS Western Conference 2012 scoring seven goals and adding nine assists. Beckham had earlier announced that the 2012 MLS Cup Final would be his final game with Galaxy despite having another year remaining in his contract.
On 31 January 2013, before the transfer deadline, it was announced that Beckham would be undergoing a medical check with Paris Saint-German ahead of a potential move to the Ligue 1 side. He signed a five-month deal with the club later that afternoon.
Beckham debut for PSG on 24 February 2013, when he came off the bench in the 76th minute in a Ligue 1 home match against Marseille. On 12 May 2013, Beckham won his fourth top-flight medal after PSG beat Lyon 1-0 to claim the Ligue 1 title.
On 18 May 2013, Beckham was made captain in his final home game against Brest. The game saw Beckham assisting a goal by Matuidi from a corner. Beckham was subbed after 80 minutes, receiving hugs from his fellow players and the team manager as well as a standing ovation from fans. PSG went on to win the game 3–1.
Beckham made his first international debut from the English national team on September 1, 1996, in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova. The year 1998 saw Beckham playing for England in all of its World Cup qualifying matches. He was part of the England squad at the World Cup in France.
Sadly, it turned out to be a bitter experience for Beckham. During a match against Argentina, he kicked Diego Simone after having been fouled by him and ended up receiving a red card. The match finished in a draw and England were eliminated in a penalty shootout.
Beckham played a major role in helping England qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, starring in an impressive 5–1 victory over Germany in Munich. The final step in Beckham's conversion from a villain to a national hero had happened slightly earlier, in England's 2002 World Cup qualifying game against Greece on 6 October 2001.
In England's opening game at the 2006, World Cup against Paraguay held on 10 June 2006, Beckham's free kick led to an own-goal by Carlos Gamarra as England won the match 1–0.
The summer of 2006 saw Beckham stepping down as captain of the English team only to be recalled on 26 May 2007 to perform his duties again.
During the 2010 World Cup qualifier against Belarus held in Minsk in 2009, which England won by 3-1, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap, making him England’s third most-capped player in history.
Beckham's career waned after that. He was named in the provisional squad to represent the Great Britain Olympic Football Team at the 2012 Olympics. He was not included in the final selection by manager Stuart Pearce.
Moving on to his personal life, David Beckham and his wife Victoria Adams first met during a Manchester United game. They started dating in 1997. Their affair instantly attracted a great deal of media attention. Beckham proposed Victoria on 24 January 1998 in a restaurant in Chestnut, England.
David Beckham and Victoria Adams married at Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland on 4 July 1999. 437 staff were employed during their wedding, which was estimated to have cost $800,000. David and Victoria Beckham have three sons, Brooklyn Joseph (born 4 March 1999 in Westminster, London), Romeo James (born 1 September 2002 in Westminster, London) and Cruz David (born 20 February 2005 in Madrid, Spain), and daughter Harper Seven (born 10 July 2011, in Los Angeles).
Beckham's three sons have all played football in the Arsenal Academy like their father. Sons Brooklyn and Romeo have also done modeling work and have been named among GQ’s best dressed British men.
The retired English footballing legend is worth hundreds of millions of pounds. According to the most recent estimate, David Beckham has a net worth of $450 million (£280 million). The British icon made $228 million in soccer revenues and earned $42 million from commercial endorsements for sponsors including Adidas, Coty, H&M, Sainsbury's, Samsung. His latest endorsement partnership is with the Swiss watch company Breitling.
Beckham managed to secure another £11.4 million in profit for his Footwork Production Company. With the amount of money Beckham has, there is no doubt that he lives a luxurious life. He owns a stable of luxurious cars, including a Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler, Porsche Boxster, Jaguar f-type, Bentley Mulsanne, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Gallardo and Bugatti Veyron, among others. He also has his own private jet plane, an Embraer Legacy, and is known for his love of Harley Davidson bikes. His collection of cars, bikes and private jet is worth a staggering $55 million.
At the tender age of 21, Beckham purchased a £150,000 Manchester house. As he built up his career at Manchester United, he wooed his first girlfriend Krista Kemp at the property. After falling head over heels for Spice Girl Victoria Adams in 1997, the pair resided together at the location.The house was later sold for £190,000, making a profit of £40,000 for the footballer.
After moving from Manchester, Posh and Becks snapped up a historic penthouse in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in 1998, for a little over £300,000 pounds. The penthouse also featured in an iconic photoshoot with OK! Magazine, where Victoria boasted she did the interior of the house all by herself. The house was sold in 2002 for £600,000, at a profit of £283,000.
In 1999, the couple bought a seven-bedroom house nestled on 24 acres of land in Hertfordshire. David and Victoria still own the property and it is often mentioned by the press as ‘Beckingham Palace’.
Following Victoria’s pregnancy with Romeo, the couple moved to a converted barn, with its own gym and indoor swimming pool, in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in 2002. Victoria and David Beckham stayed there for two years, before selling the house for £1.75 million, which was £500,000 more than what they paid for it.
The Manchester United star and English footballing legend also purchased a French villa sometime in 2003. It was intended to act as a family getaway.
Following Beckham's move to LA Galaxy, in 2007, the family decided to purchase a six-bedroom house in Los Angeles. The home was furnished with the help of interior designer Kelly Hoppen. It was reportedly bought for £24 million, given the rising price of property in LA, it is expected to be worth at least £13 million more now.
When in England, the Beckhams mostly live in their eight-bedroom mansion in London's swanky Holland Park area. Along with a swimming pool, gym, playroom, spa and a salon-style room, the house also has two dressing rooms and a ramp for Victoria's catwalk rehearsals. The house was bought for around £25.2 million and, in case it gets sold, is expected to fetch to the tune of £30 million.
Towards the end of 2016, David and Victoria set aside more than £160million for a California mega-mansion which has, since then, been known as their new 'Beckingham' palace. Perched on a grassy, 4.6 acre of a sun-soaked patch in LA County, the mansion has a total of 123 rooms and comes with 14 bedrooms and 27 bathrooms.
Beckham is also involved in promoting football. He has established football academies in Los Angeles and east London and he was named a judge for the 2006 British Book Awards.
apart from that, he is also involved in philanthropy. Beckham became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador while he was a Manchester United player, in 2005. The UN agency and Beckham have partnered together to run the 7 Fund, named from Beckham's jersey number in the national team. As part of his project, he traveled to Cambodia, in June 2015, to raise awareness about the issue of violence against children.