Author(s): Wayne Barton
Few soccer players in history have commanded as much media attention as David Beckham. From the moment he announced himself to the world with a breathtaking goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon in 1996, he became public property. Over the next two years, as he embarked on a relationship with a Spice Girl and was sent off in a crucial World Cup game for England, he was loved and loathed in equal measure. The restoration of brand Beckham saw him installed as England captain and almost universally loved by the time he blazed a trail across the globe with stops in Madrid, Los Angeles, Milan and Paris. But what about the player behind the celebrity? What about the boy born to play for Manchester United - the midfielder who exemplified the idea that dedication and hard work can pay off? Isn't it time he was celebrated too? Drawing on exclusive interviews with former Beckham team-mates, acclaimed sports writer Wayne Barton explores Beckham's contribution as one of the greatest players of his generation.