International sports superstar David Beckham is China’s new soccer ambassador. He has been recruited by the world’s most populous country to help bring new life to its struggling soccer industry.
China is attempting to fix its image both at home and internationally after a recent match-fix scandal crippled it. FIFA recently extended bans on 58 Chinese soccer officials worldwide for corruption.
As China’s new soccer ambassador, David Beckham will bring “credibility as one of the most admired sportsmen and iconic figures in the world,” according to a statement released by his management. CNN reports that part of Beckham’s mission will be to encourage the countries youth to embrace soccer.
For David Beckham the move makes an already busy year busier. He recently made his debut with Paris Saint Germain after leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham played for the American club for five years before returning to Europe. After winning the MLS Cup, he became part of a rare group of soccer players to win league titles in three different countries. He also debuted a new H&M ad campaign
China is much cleaner now, and fan interest has been on the rise. Shanghai made headlines recently by signing two major international stars to contracts. One player, Didier Drogba, left after 10 months of an 18 month contract. The other player, Nicolas Anelka, is currently on a five-month loan to Italy’s Juventes.
Beckham will play in an All-Star game in China later this year to help promote the sport. At 37-years-old there is no question he can still play at a high level. Here are highlights of his title winning final MLS season:
As the the third major name to associate himself with Chinese soccer in the last year, David Beckham says:
“I’m excited by the prospect of promoting the world’s greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I’ve seen firsthand the growing interest in football there”
One things for sure, China’s new soccer ambassador is not afraid of a challenge. Beckham fought the same battle in the United States as a member or the Galaxy. He was also an integral figure to London winning hosting rights to last summer’s Olympics.
Are you surprised David Beckham is China’s new soccer ambassador?