On 20 March 2008, Beckham was recalled to the England squad by new coach and former manager at Real Madrid, Fabio Capello for the friendly against France in Paris on 26 March. Beckham became only the fifth Englishman to win 100 caps. Capello had hinted on 25 March 2008 that Beckham had a long-term future in his side ahead of crucial qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup. On 11 May 2008, Capello included an in-form Beckham in his 31-man England squad to face the United States at Wembley Stadium on 28 May before the away fixture with Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June. Beckham was honoured before the match by receiving an honorary gold cap representing his 100th cap from Bobby Charlton, and was given a standing ovation from the crowd. He played well and assisted John Terry on the match-winning goal. When substituted at half-time for David Bentley, the pro-Beckham crowd booed the decision. In a surprise move, Capello handed Beckham the captaincy for England’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on 1 June 2008. The match was the first time since the 2006 World Cup that Beckham had skippered England and marked a dramatic turnaround for Beckham. In two years, he had gone from being dropped completely from the England squad to being reinstated (though temporarily) as England captain. During the 2010 World Cup Qualifier against Belarus in which England won 3–1 in Minsk, Beckham came off the bench in the 87th minute to earn his 107th cap making him England’s third-most-capped player in history, overtaking Bobby Charlton in the process. On 11 February 2009, Beckham drew level with Bobby Moore’s record of 108 caps for an English outfield player, coming on as a substitute for Stewart Downing in a friendly match against Spain. On 28 March 2009, Beckham surpassed Moore to hold the record outright when he came on as a substitute in a friendly against Slovakia, providing the assist for a goal from Wayne Rooney in the process. In all, Beckham had made 16 appearances out of a possible 20 for England under Capello until his ruptured Achilles tendon of March 2010 ruled him out of selection for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His last game for England before injury had been on 14 October 2009 as a substitute in England’s last World Cup qualifying game, which ended England 3 – 0 Belarus. On 11 August 2010, with Beckham still unavailable for selection but aiming for a return to playing in MLS by the following month. In the post-match interview, Capello said of the prospect of the now 35-year-old Beckham playing any future competitive matches for England, that “I need to change it. David is a fantastic player but I think we need new players for the future”. Beckham remains 10 caps short of the record number of 125 caps by goalkeeper Peter Shilton, for a player of any position. Beckham was named in the provisional squad to represent the Great Britain Olympic football team at the 2012 Olympics. He was not included in the final selection by manager Stuart Pearce.
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Beckham’s involvement with Major League Soccer (MLS) began while he was still a Real Madrid player when it was confirmed on 11 January 2007 that he would be leaving Madrid in six months to join MLS side LA Galaxy. The speculation about his new contract in Madrid was thus put to an end and the following day Beckham’s official press conference was held in conjunction with the 2007 MLS SuperDraft. The announcement made top news all across the globe. Though many worldwide media outlets reported the deal to be worth US$250 million, the astronomical figure was soon revealed to be something of a PR stunt engineered by Beckham’s media handlers (British representative agency 19 Entertainment). To maximise the media effect, in the press release they decided to list the potential sum that Beckham could make over the five-year period from all his revenue sources, which in addition to his Galaxy pay also include his personal endorsements. Beckham’s actual deal with the Galaxy was a five-year contract worth US$32.5 million in total or $6.5 million per year. The high-profile acquisition paid immediate financial dividends for Galaxy long before Beckham joined the team. On the strength of the signing and the media frenzy it created, the club was able to pull off a new five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Herbalife nutrition company worth US$20 million. The gate revenue peaked as well with 11,000 new season tickets holders and sold-out luxury suites (each one of the 42 inside the team’s home ground, the Home Depot Center). Even the LA Galaxy owners Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) saw an immediate spike in business. Involved on many business fronts worldwide, AEG was already leveraging its Beckham association in places such as China, where the company had been working aggressively in Shanghai and Beijing for years to receive clearance to build arenas and stadiums. The company’s CEO Tim Leiweke put it as follows: “Suddenly, we’re known as the company that owns the team that David Beckham is going to play for, so our world changed”. In the months following the announcement, the additional terms of Beckham’s contract became public knowledge. One unique contract provision was giving him the option of buying an MLS expansion franchise in any market except New York City at the fixed price of $25 million whenever he stopped playing in the league – an allowance that the league’s owners had never given to a player before. Another provision was the opt-out clause after the 2009 season, meaning that should he decide so, Beckham was free to leave the club after completing year three of his five-year contract. In April 2007, he and wife Victoria bought an $18.2 million home on San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills. Beckham’s contract with LA Galaxy took effect on 11 July, and on 13 July, the famous Englishman was officially unveiled as a Galaxy player at the Home Depot Center to much fanfare and world media interest in front of more than 5,000 gathered fans and some 700 accredited media members. Beckham chose to wear number 23. It was announced that Galaxy jersey sales had already reached a record figure of over 250,000 prior to this formal introduction. In parallel, Beckham’s handlers at 19 Entertainment succeeded in putting together an unprecedented US media rollout designed to expand his carefully crafted personal brand in America. He made the cover of Sports Illustrated, a few weeks earlier Adidas launched the extensive 13-part ad campaign “Fútbol meets Football” starring Beckham and NFL running back Reggie Bush, and W magazine published a racy photo spread featuring David and wife Victoria photographed by Steven Klein. Meanwhile, ESPN sports network was running a promotional campaign and it also agreed to air David Beckham: New Beginnings documentary produced by 19 Entertainment before the friendly match versus Chelsea, which was expected to be Beckham’s American debut. In addition to popularising soccer, Beckham’s arrival was used as platform for entertainment industry endeavours. Since both Beckham’s and his wife’s often overlapping careers were handled by 19 Entertainment, which is owned by Simon Fuller, who in turn has a business relationship with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agencies, it was important also for CAA that the Beckhams made as big an impact as possible upon their arrival in the United States. On 16 July, CAA had hosted a welcoming bash for David at its new eight-storey, $400 million headquarters in Century City with CAA employees reportedly instructed beforehand to line the staircase and clap for Beckham upon his arrival. That night Victoria’s reality show prime-time special Victoria Beckham: Coming to America aired on NBC, drawing negative reviews in the press and poor viewership ratings. On Saturday afternoon, 21 July, despite still nursing the injured left ankle that he picked up a month earlier during the final match of La Liga’s season, Beckham made his Galaxy debut, coming on for Alan Gordon in the 78th minute of a 0–1 friendly loss to Chelsea as part of the World Series of Soccer. With a capacity crowd, along with a long Hollywood celebrity list featuring Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Eva Longoria, Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Drew Carey among others, present at the Home Depot Center, the match was broadcast live on ESPN’s main network. However, the proceedings on the field of play took a back seat to the Beckham spectacle, and despite the presence of worldwide football stars such as Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, and Frank Lampard, the US television cameras were firmly focused on Beckham who spent most of the match on the bench. The match’s added time featured a scare for already injured Beckham when he got tackled by Steve Sidwell whose cleats struck Beckham’s right foot, sending him airborne before he crumpled hard to the ground. Though the existing injury was not aggravated too much, Beckham’s recovery process was set back by about a week. ESPN’s presentation of Beckham’s debut earned a 1.0 TV rating, meaning it was seen in an average of 947,000 television homes in the US – a disappointing figure given the national media buzz and two weeks of constant promotion by ESPN. As far as sporting events that were televised that weekend in the United States, Beckham’s much publicised debut drew fewer TV viewers than British Open golf tournament, a regular-season national baseball game, and even the Indy Racing League’s Honda 200 motor race.The day after the made-for-TV debut was reserved for the welcoming party for the Beckhams at LA’s Museum of Contemporary Art, formally billed as being hosted by Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith though in actuality a CAA-organized event. Attended by many Hollywood A-listers, the lavish bash was big news in the US celebrity tabloid media, including daily entertainment TV magazines such as Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood.