Beckham bends it in BhaktapurRetired England, Manchester United and Real Madrid footballer David Beckham spent more than three hours with schoolchildren in Bhaktapur on Friday.
Retired England, Manchester United and Real Madrid footballer David Beckham spent more than three hours with schoolchildren in Bhaktapur on Friday.
Beckham arrived in Kathmandu on Friday as part of a global charity tour, his second stop after Papua New Guinea to raise funds and awareness for the United Nations children agency Unicef. The living sports icon plans to play seven football matches on seven continents.
Earlier in the year, he launched 7: The David Beckham Unicef Fund to help protect children in danger around the world. Several English media including Daily Mirror reported recently that after PNG and Nepal, Beckham plans to visit Argentina, Antarctica, Djibouti, and the United States before a final charity match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England on November 14.
Under tight security, Beckham headed straight for Sallaghari, Bhaktapur, from Tribhuvan International Airport. From Sallaghari, he drove a Safa tempo himself to reach the Bhaktapur Durbar Square where a huge crowd made him struggle to reach Padma Higher Secondary School. As the crowd outside the school kept growing, Beckham’s entourage took the backdoor of the school to reach Taumadhi to play football where an equal number of fans awaited him. He is scheduled to board for Argentina on his private jet on Saturday.
The school Beckham visited was partly damaged by the April 25 earthquake and Unicef had managed temporary huts to ensure its operation, said Vice-principal Suryaram Dhoju. “We are in dire need of help and hopefully Beckham’s visit will make that possible,” added Dhoju.
Beckham spent some time at a class and even played table tennis with schoolchildren in a cemented board with bricks for the net. He played football with children at the Taumadhi Square. Clad in jeans and boots, he played for both Red and Green teams.
“I have hardly slept ever since I heard Beckham is arriving at our school,” said Sushan Ale Magar. Beckham also visited a temporary shelter of Saral Koju, a 10th grader, in Byasi. Koju’s family has been living there after the April earthquake destroyed their home.
Beckham’s professional club career began with Manchester United, where he made his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. With United, he won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice, and the Uefa Champions League in 1999. He then played four seasons with Real Madrid, winning the La Liga in his final season with the club. In July 2007, Beckham signed a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club LA Galaxy. While a Galaxy player, he spent two loan spells in Italy with AC Milan in 2009 and 2010. He was the first British footballer to play 100 Champions League games.
In international football, Beckham made his England debut on September 1, 1996. He captained England for six years, earning 58 caps during his tenure. He made 115 career appearances in total, appearing at three World Cup tournaments, the 1998, 2002 and 2006 editions and two European Championship tournaments in 2000 and 2004.