David Beckham's career has taken him from Manchester United to Real Madrid to LA Galaxy. He has won league titles with all three. Along the way he won more than 100 caps for England. And he married a Spice Girl.
Whatever else you may feel about David Beckham, it has to be admitted that he has taken great care of the media-management of his career. There have been blips along the way, of course, but he overcame those in his own inimitable manner.
Here is just a selection of some of the biggest moments in a standout career:
The goal from the halfway line that started the legend
After a brief loan spell with Preston North End, Beckham established himself in the Manchester United first team in the League and FA Cup double-winning team of 1995-6. On the opening day of the following season he became a name that every household knew when he did this:
England zero to hero
The 1998 World Cup was Beckham's first major tournament for England. Sidelined at first he announced his arrival on the global stage with a trademark free kick against Colombia. But in the next game, against Argentina, he was sent off for retaliation and when England inevitably went out on penalties, Beckham bore the brunt of the blame. But his popularity went full circle when, with England on the brink of failing to qualify for the next World Cup, Beckham performed heroically in the decisive qualifier:
After 265 games, 61 goals, 6 Premier League titles and 1 European Cup, the time came for the England-captain-who-had-married-a-Spice-Girl to leave Old Trafford. Where could a man of his fame and talents go? The most star-studded soccer team on the planet? Hello, Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Raúl...
To some surprise, Beckham's next move was to the US and a mega-contract in Major League Soccer. Over the years, suspicion turned to success. In 2011 LA Galaxy won MLS Cup in front of their home fans. Will they do the same in 2012?
Famous enough to be one of the best jokes in a Richard Curtis romcom.
Along the way there have been many, many spectacular goals. Here is just a selection (in not necessarily the best order).