The incredibly successful life of David Beckham, the second highest-paid retired athlete

David Beckham, one of the world’s most recognised (former) soccer players, was just named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” for the first time.

This 40-year-old father of four began his soccer career when he was 16 and continued playing profesionally until his retirement in 2013. In that time, he played 523 games and scored 97 goals for six different teams, two of which he was loaned to.

But Beckham has been in the spotlight for more than just his soccer ability. After marrying Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice from the Spice Girls), the couple became a global phenomenon.

Beckham has appeared in video games, commercials, movies, and is the face of a number of brands throughout the world, including H&M and Adidas. Just this year, he was named second on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid retired athletes.

He also owns a Major League Soccer team and is actively involved in a number of charities, celebrating 10 years as a UNICEF ambassador this year.

Here’s a look at the life and career of Beckham:

David Robert Joseph Beckham was born May 2, 1975, in London. He has two sisters.

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Beckham said he always wanted to play professional soccer. He used to play on a local youth team, and at age 14 he attended Manchester United's training academy. His parents were massive United fans.

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He signed his first contract with United when he was 16, and he debuted with the team in 1992. During his 11 years with United, he scored 62 goals and the team won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the UEFA Champions League and the World Club Championship in 1999.

Beckham made his debut for the England national team when he was 21 and played with them from 1996-2009. He was the captain for six years and played in three World Cups.

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28 Mar 2001: Beckham runs with the ball during the World Cup 2002 group nine qualifying match against Albania. England won the match 3-1.

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In 2001, PlayStation released the video game 'David Beckham Soccer.' It was later released for other platforms as well. In 2002, 'Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island' was released for Game Boy Advance. He also graced the cover of the FIFA '98 video game.

'Go! Go! Beckham! Adventure on Soccer Island'

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He met Victoria Adams, known as Posh Spice of the Spice Girls, in 1997, and they married in September 1999. The couple has four kids: Brooklyn, 16, Romeo, 12, Cruz, 10, and Harper, 4.

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(L-R) Romeo Beckham, David Beckham, Cruz Beckham, Brooklyn Beckham and Victoria Beckham attend the World premiere of 'The Class of 92' at Odeon West End on December 1, 2013 in London, England.

The movie 'Bend It Like Beckham' came out in 2002. Beckham wasn't able to make a cameo appearance, so a lookalike was used instead. He did make a cameo in the movies 'Goal! The Dream Begins,' 'Goal II: Living the Dream' and 'Goal III: Taking on the World.'

'Goal II: Living the Dream'

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Beckham signed a four-year contract with Real Madrid in 2003 for about $50 million. Forbes found that in the years that Beckham was on the team, Real Madrid sold $600 million worth of soccer merchandise, increasing their profits by 137 per cent.

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Beckham of Real Madrid runs with the ball pursued by Ryuji Fujiyama of FC Tokyo during the pre-season match between FC Tokyo and Real Madrid.

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In 2005, Beckham opened two soccer academies, one in Los Angeles and the other in London. They both closed in 2009.

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David Beckham (R) talks with junior soccer players at the David Beckham Press Conference at the Home Depot Center on June 2, 2005. Beckham is appearing at The Home Depot Center to announce The David Beckham Academy.

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He moved to Los Angeles and made his Major League Soccer debut with LA Galaxy in 2007 in what was said to be a record-breaking $250 million contract, but that wasn't necessarily the case. His salary, along with endorsements, totaled an estimated $250 million. During his time there, he was loaned to Milan twice, once in 2009 and again in 2010.

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David Beckham #23 of Los Angeles Galaxy looks on while taking on the Houston Dynamo in the 2012 MLS Cup at The Home Depot Center on December 1, 2012.

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After the Beckhams made the move to the US, the family had some TV specials. ESPN ran a documentary called 'David Beckham: New Beginnings' and Victoria had a reality show special called 'Victoria Beckham: Coming to America,' both produced by their agent Simon Fuller's company, 19 Entertainment.

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David Beckham of the Los Angeles Galaxy poses with agent Simon Fuller after winning the 2012 MLS Cup 3-1 against the Houston Dynamo on December 1, 2012.

Beckham joined tennis player Andy Murray as one of Malaria No More UK's founding Leadership Council members when the organisation launched in 2009.

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L-R) Andy Murray, David Beckham, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Denise Lewis at No.10 Downing Street on April 20, 2009. The event marks the launch of the campaign 'Malaria No More UK.'

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He signed a five-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, and while playing for the team, he donated his entire salary to charity. He announced his retirement at the end of five months.

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David Beckham waves to the crowd with his sons, Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz during the match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Stade Brestois 29 on May 18, 2013.

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He made Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid retired athletes this year, raking in $75 million in 2014, second behind Michael Jordan.

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Beckham has a number of endorsement deals, including Breitling, Sky Sports, and Belstaff. Beckham also has a few deals in China, including Jaguar, China Auto Rental, and Sands China. He also became an ambassador for the Chinese Super League.

Getty/Lintao Zhang

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Last year, he even partnered with beverage company Diageo to launch a new whiskey and signed a deal with Global Brands Group. Between them both, he's supposed to bring in more than $20 million.

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And you can't forget about his fragrance and clothing deals. As an Adidas user, he signed a $130 million lifelong contract back in 2003. Beckham extended his deal with Coty, a beauty product company that sells his fragrances, through 2017. His 2012 deal with H&M extended to include swimwear this last year and will also include a new line of menswear.

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
David Beckham attends the launch of his new Bodywear range at the H&M Super Bowl Event at H&M Times Square on February 1, 2014.

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A year ago, Beckham announced the purchase of an MLS team to bring to Miami after being given the option to purchase a franchise for $25 million as designated by his MLS contract back in 2007. The deal might not work out if Beckham and his investors can't get approval for a stadium.

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Commissioner Don Garber, David Beckham and Mayor Carlos Gimenez attend a press conference to announce their plans to launch a new Major League Soccer franchise in Miami, Florida.

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In November 2015, Beckham was named People's 'Sexist Man of the Year' for the first time.

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David Beckham attends a photocall as he celebrates 10 years as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

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