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Beckham brand built to withstand retirement

Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-17 13:35

LONDON - David Beckham's easy charm and image as a family man will ensure the brand built up by Britain's richest sportsman prosper long after the end of his playing days.

The former England captain, 38, said on Thursday he was retiring from professional soccer after a brief encore in Europe with Qatari-owned Paris St Germain, the French champions.

A study by the Sunday Times newspaper last month estimated Beckham's fortune at 165 million pounds ($253 million), not counting the sums earned by wife Victoria, a pop star turned fashion designer.

Beckham brand built to withstand retirement

Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria arrive at Westminster Abbey before the wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton, in central London in this April 29, 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

With his playing career winding down, Beckham has been striking new deals which have seen him take on more of an ambassadorial role, promoting soccer in China and encouraging people to play sports in a partnership with British pay TV company BSkyB.

His wealth has been built on a rare ability to strike a soccer ball and an unusual combination of celebrity and humility that has made him an adman's dream.

"For ordinary people, Beckham is an aspirational brand," said Simon Chadwick, professor of sports marketing at Coventry University in central England. "He comes across as a normal guy who has a stable family but has managed to combine it with glamour and a high profile career."

Beckham made his name at Manchester United under manager Alex Ferguson who too retired from soccer last week. The floppy-haired young midfielder's profile grew as the English Premier League acquired a huge global television audience.

His playing career took him to top European clubs Real Madrid and AC Milan. A five-year spell with LA Galaxy ensured that his fame spread across the Atlantic and helped build a fan base in North America.

Beckham brand built to withstand retirement

Former England soccer team captain David Beckham poses for picture with students during a news conference at a primary school in Beijing, March 20, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

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