1. HE’S WON EVERYWHERE HE’S PLAYED …
Beckham has won at least one league title with every team he’s joined for a full season. Manchester United won England’s Premier League six times with Beckham, including three straight from 1999-2001. Real Madrid captured its first La Liga title in four years in 2007, Beckham’s last season with the Spanish club. He led the Los Angeles Galaxy to back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. He joined Paris Saint-Germain in January, and last week the club won its first French league title since 1994.
2. … EXCEPT WHEN HE’S PLAYED FOR ENGLAND
England never advanced beyond the World Cup quarterfinals when Beckham was playing, and many blamed him – and his petulant red card against Argentina – for the country’s early elimination in 1998. Beckham made amends four years later, scoring the winning goal against Argentina that secured a spot in the knockout stage. Alas, England was eliminated by eventual champion Brazil in the quarterfinals that year.
3. HE WAS FERGIE’S BOOT CATCHER
Beckham’s time at Manchester United came to an unglamorous end when he was hit in the head with a shoe that manager Alex Ferguson had kicked in anger. Beckham left Old Trafford shortly after.
4. HE MARRIED A SPICE GIRL
Already popular, Beckham reached the upper stratosphere of celebrity when he began dating Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams in 1997. The wedding of “Posh and Becks” two years later garnered breathless international coverage, and Tom Cruise hosted a “Welcome to L.A.” party for the couple after Beckham joined the Galaxy in 2007.
5. HE’S HAD MORE HAIRSTYLES THAN GOALS
OK, not quite. But it’s close. Nothing illustrated Beckham’s status as a fashion idol more than his ever-changing hair. He was constantly experimenting with color, length and layers, and one trip to the barber would send kids across the world scrambling for a new ’do. The Fauxhawk is arguably the most famous.
6. HE ONCE WORE A SARONG
Really. Just as he wasn’t afraid to be edgy with his hair, Beckham pushed the envelope with what he wore, too. He sported a sarong back in 1998, and he and wife Victoria once stepped out in matching black leather outfits. (To his credit, Beckham later admitted that wasn’t his best moment in terms of fashion.)
7. YOU’VE SEEN HIM IN HIS UNDERWEAR
New Yorkers got a very good look at Beckham last year, when retailer H&M covered almost the entire side of a midtown building with a picture of him in a pair of boxer briefs. Those who don’t live in New York will have to settle for the steamy ads he’s done for H&M and Armani.
8. HE HAS A MOVIE NAMED AFTER HIM
The 2002 movie “Bend It Like Beckham,” starring Parminder Nagra, tells the story of a British teenager – and big Beckham fan – who defies her family’s wishes to play soccer. A Beckham lookalike makes an appearance at the end of the movie. (Beckham is also mentioned in the 2003 film, “Love Actually” during Hugh Grant’s speech about what makes Britain great. “The country of Shakespeare. Churchill. The Beatles. Sean Connery. Harry Potter. David Beckham’s right foot. David Beckham’s left foot, come to that.”)
9. HE LOVES HIS COUNTRY
Beckham’s 115 appearances for England are the most for a player other a goalkeeper, and he was captain of the Three Lions from 2001-06. He also was part of the group that helped London win the right to host 2012 Olympics, traveling to Singapore for the decisive vote. He was less successful in England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, which went to Russia.
10. HE’S COMING BACK TO MLS
Beckham has the right to purchase an expansion team in Major League Soccer, and has said repeatedly that he intends to exercise that option when he is done playing.