You asked about: David Beckham

By Alanah Eriksen, Alanah May Eriksen

Have you seen Becks around Wellington? Send us your photos.

Why are we asking this now?
Because David Beckham, 32, a professional English soccer midfielder, is the star and captain of the Los Angeles Galaxy team that arrived in New Zealand yesterday to play Wellington Phoenix.

The match tomorrow at the Westpac Stadium is part of a short Downunder tour. LA Galaxy played Australia's Sydney Football Club in front of 80,000 fans at Telstra Stadium on Tuesday.

Who is David Beckham?
His professional soccer career began in 1992 when he signed with Manchester United at 17, but he left the team for Spain's Real Madrid in 2003, staying for four seasons.

In January, he signed a five-year contract with the LA Galaxy. Reported to be worth £128 million ($372.3 million), the contract gave him the highest salary of any major league soccer player in history.

Beckham, affectionately known as Becks, is also in the England national soccer team, which he has previously skippered and played for on and off since 1996.

He has been runner-up for the Fifa World Player of the Year title twice, and in 2004 was the world's highest-paid footballer. In 2001, he was BBC Sports Personality of the Year and in 2003 and 2004 was Google's most-searched sports topic.

He was made an Officer in the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen in 2003 and listed by Forbes as No 15 on its 2007 list of most influential celebrities. His global recognition has made him an elite advertising brand and a top fashion icon.

The 2002 British film Bend it Like Beckham is a reference to Beckham and his skill at scoring from free-kicks by bending the ball, making it swerve as it flies through the air.

What about his personal life?
In 1997, Beckham started dating Victoria Adams, famously known as Posh Spice of the pop music group Spice Girls. The pair met at a Manchester United match.

The Spice Girls were one of the world's top pop groups at the time and Beckham's team were also enjoying a great run of success, so their relationship instantly attracted media attention.

He proposed to Adams in 1998 in a restaurant in Cheshunt, England, and they were married at Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland, the next year. Adams changed her name to Victoria Beckham.

In 1999, the Beckhams purchased their most famous home, unofficially dubbed Beckingham Palace, near London, estimated to be worth $15 million.

They have three sons: Brooklyn Joseph Beckham, 8, Romeo James Beckham, 5, and Cruz David Beckham, 2.

Their marriage came under scrutiny in 2004 when Beckham's former personal assistant Rebecca Loos claimed she had an affair with him. Several other woman then claimed to have had sex with him.

The couple have became sought-after by clothing designers, health and fitness specialists, fashion magazines, perfume and cosmetics manufacturers, hair stylists and spa and recreation companies for their promotional skills. They were reportedly paid $13.7 million this year to launch a fragrance line in the US.

Beckham has 13 tattoos, including his wife's name on his left arm and his three sons' names on his back.

What charity work is he involved in?
Beckham has supported Unicef since his days at Manchester United. In January 2005, he became a goodwill ambassador focusing on the organisation's "sports for development" programme.

In January, he surprised fan Rebecca Johnstone, a 19-year-old cancer patient in Canada, with a phone call. He followed that up with a signed Real Madrid Jersey.

He is also a spokesman for Malaria No More, fighting malaria deaths in Africa.

He recently became an advocate in the US for a soccer charity.

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