David Beckham : The Most Popular English Football Player

One of England's most influential football players and a tabloid favorite, Manchester United's midfielder, David Beckham, has become known for his talent as well as his temperament.

David Robert Joseph Beckham was born May 2, 1975, in Leytonstone, England. As a student in Essex, Beckham won the Bobby Charlton Soccer Skills Award at the age of 11, making his football talent evident at an early age.

After being signed as a trainee July 8, 1991, the Bobby Charlton fan played as a substitute for Andrei Kanchelskis on September 23, 1992. The game against Brighton marked Beckham's debut as a United player.

Winner of the 1992 F.A. Youth Cup and runner-up a year later, Beckham was finally signed as a professional United player in January 1993. The eighteen-year-old soccer pro played in his first Champions League game and contributed a goal to the team's final win.

Despite his talent, Beckham only made his full debut in April 1995. He became a first team regular in the 1996/97 seasons as a right midfielder. In 1996, not only did England get a taste of Beckham's crossing, free kick and long shot talent, but the player also won the F.A. Premier League, Cup and Charity Shield; all in the same year. 1996 was also the year Beckham made his international debut in a game against Moldova.

The same summer, Beckham scored his first international goal in the June 26, 1998 game against Colombia, although he made waves in a negative way. During the 1998 World Cup in France, Beckham kicked Diego Simeone lightly in the back of the leg, in retaliation for having been fouled by the player.

Needles to say, Beckham's vengeful kick basically kicked himself -- out of the game, that is. Outnumbered by Argentina, England lost the game (at least that's what they attribute their loss to), and Beckham's nation was unforgiving, to say the least.

The tabloids later followed Beckham off the soccer field and onto his posh wedding to Spice Girl Victoria Adams, in July 1999. In March of that year, the couple welcomed their son Brooklyn Joseph to the world. Beckham's personal life has since overshadowed the negative media stories focusing on his bad temper, shifting to stories on his rail thin wife, who is also a tabloid favorite.

Back to soccer though: In 1999, Beckham won another F.A. Cup, and came in 2nd in the European Ballon d'Or awards and as the FIFA's World Player of the Year. He also won a Champions League title, an Intercontinental Cup and an English league title that same year.

But despite the honors, Beckham's temper has not improved; something that was evident after he received a red-card for tackling a Necaxa player at the FIFA World Club Championships.

David Beckham: My Story, the United Manchester midfielder's autobiography, has recently been released.

Beckham has been in the news lately after his Ferrari had apparently been sabotaged. There have also been reports of attempts to kidnap Beckham's son Brooklyn.