Ex-footballer David Beckham has backed a Remain vote for the June 23 EU referendum.
The star posted an Instagram picture this morning declaring his voting intentions.
It shows him and one-time Manchester United teammate and Frenchman Eric Cantona embracing on the pitch.
The accompanying text makes a desperate plea for the UK to stay in the EU, citing all the many European players he had played with over the years (emphasis ours):
I’m passionate about my country and whatever the result of Thursday’s referendum, we will always be Great. Each side has the right to their opinion and that should always be respected whatever the outcome of the European Referendum.
I played my best years at my boyhood club, Manchester United. I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince.
Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona.
I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world. Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.
We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children, we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.
For these reasons, I am voting to Remain.
Here is the original Instagram post:
Justice Secretary Michael Gove — one of Vote Leave’s biggest advocates — responded to the news by saying “Sol Campbell [ex-England footballer] is for Leave, as indeed, I think, is John Barnes. As a QPR fan I know what it’s like to support the underdog,” according to Politics Home.
Beckham follows Richard Scudamore, the executive chairman of the Premier League, in coming out for Remain. Scudamore told BBC 5-Live on Monday that all 20 Premiership teams backed a Remain vote, and that the UK would be “respected less around the world for not wanting to be part of something.”
The EU referendum is still too close to call, but a recent ORB International poll suggests the Remain camp has the slight edge with a 7-point lead. It added that Remain supporters have galvanised as the referendum approaches, with those saying they will definitely vote jumping to 69% from 54% two weeks ago — while that figure for the Leave camp fell to 64%, from 69%.
Another poll conducted by BMG showed that a significant portion of voters could be swayed by the England football team’s progress in the Euro 2016 Championships.