Childhood and then Manchester... obviously
David Beckham was born 37 years ago, on May 2, 1975, in Leytonstone on the outskirts of London. Despite hailing from the capital, and a childhood spent just a few kilometres from Tottenham's stadium White Hart Lane, David Beckham broke with family tradition and supported the Reds of Manchester United.
So it was a dream come true when, after catching the eye of the northern giants, he signed a youth contract at the age of 14. His footballing apprenticeship kicked into top gear alongside the likes of Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers. In 1992, this golden generation won the FA Youth Cup and the following year Beckham broke into the reserve team before making his senior-team debut.
Loaned out to Preston to cut his teeth, David played his first senior football in season 1994-95 before debuting for Manchester United on April 2, 1995 in the Premier League againt Leeds. He scored his first goal in that match and that set the tone for the next nine years at the club for whom he made over 400 appearances.
During that time with the Reds, Old Trafford's golden boy met his future wife, singer Victoria Adams, who was also an A-list celbrity in England at the time. The couple married in 1999 and would go on to have four children.
The 'Red Army' hegemony
From Eric Cantona to Ryan Giggs, not to mention Roy Keane, 'Becks' would play alongside some of Manchester's living legends between 1992 and 2003. The faithfyul at Old Trafford, the 'Theatre of Dreams', perhaps still remember Beckham's incredible goal from near the halfway line agsint Wimbledon in 19996, his two assists in the spectacular Champions League fina lthre eyears later, and his almost father-son relationship with legendary Manchester United coach Alex Ferguson. At any rate, David Beckham and his nunber seven shirt - the same one worn by Eric Cantona and Bobby Charlton - wrote another page in the history books of the already mythical club. After six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Champions League crown, David Beckham decided to look for a new adventure. As, it must be noted, a key player in the England squad; he had risen quickly through the national team ranks since his first cap in 1996.
Becks becomes a Galctico
Turning the page on his Mancunian past, Beckham headed south to Real Madrid in July 2003, joining the 'Galacticos' of the time: Zinedine Zidane and the 'first' Ronaldo. The new number 23 for los Merengues soon became a firm favourite of Madrid's 'Socios', with 14 goals scored in his first 16 matches and a Spanish Supercup title to add to his already impressive record. Nonetheless, it took three long years for Fabio Capello's stars to take out the La Liga title, a feat they accomplished in 2007. Mission accomplished for the Englishman, who had announced five months earlier his signature for American club the Los Angeles Galaxy.
So the gigantic media profile - and the inch-perfect passing - of the Londoner moved across the Atlantic for a new challenge. He made his debut in a friendly against Chelsea and soon after he supplied the assist fo thegoal that would qualify his side for the final of the SuperLiga. Without their injured star, however, the Galaxy faltered in the face of Mexican side Pachuca and lost the match.
In March 2008, he entered into the English footballing history books by passing the 100-cap mark - in a friendly match against France at the Stade de France - and joined a very closed circle of just five other men who had represented England that many times. Beckham continued to perform well that season, but his side failed to make the play-offs and Beckham decided that he needed to keep playing at the highest level in order to keep a grip on his place in the national team, who were in the thick of qualifiers for the World Cup in 2010.
Milan, double temptation
And so it was another of Europe's footballing giants - AC Milan - who welcomed Beckham on a loan deal. Initially planned as a two-month venture, the deal ended up being extended until the end of the 2008-09 season after Beckham had shone consistently in the red and black stripes, topping Bobby Charlton's cap record while he was at it.
And it was a case of rinse/repeat the next season: Beckham returned to the San Siro in January 2010 and stayed until June, under the direction of a certain Leonardo, in what has been, until today, his last spell on European soil.
Le Graal en Major Soccer League
And since then? Three years on the West Coast of the United States, with varying fortunes. A long-term in jury absentee in his first season, with just seven appearances, the most famous number 23 of the Major League Soccer turned things right around when he returned to action, pulverising his own statistics in season 2011-12. Voted the most improved player from one season to the next, Beckham was named in the MLS's All-Star team alonsgside Thiery Henry.
Bekcham was the arhcitect of the Galaxy's qualification for the final of the MLS Cup, with yet another assist in the Western Conference final against Real Salt Lake (3-1), and then led his side to beat Houston Dynamo (1-0) at the Home Depot Center. Having played a huge role in the Galaxy's clinching their third MLS title, Beckham left the club on a positive note in December 2012.
Last hurrah in Paris?
At 37 years of age and 9,000 kilometres away from his last home, one of England's greatest-ever players has opted for a final challenge by joining Paris. After having played with the some of the true greats of the game, the new PSG midfielder will now play alongside Ménez, Ibrahimovic and Lucas, and will doubtless win the Parc des Princes faithful over with his legendary technical skills and the beautiful precision of his game. Especially if the Leytonstone lad, who has been keeping fit by training with Arsenal, brings his magic to bear sooner rather than later...