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Old 6th September 2007, 08:08   #1
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Default Marriage 'changed' David Beckham

Marriage 'changed' David Beckham

Mark Ogden
September 6, 2007

David Beckham knows a thing or two about Sir Alex Ferguson 'sticking the boot in' having once been on the receiving end of a football boot sent flying by the Manchester United manager during one of his dressing-room dressing downs.

Then, the physical impact of Ferguson's actions were evident through the scar and stitches on Beckham's forehead, yet the Old Trafford manager's latest swipe at the former United and Real Madrid midfielder is likely only to cause a raised eyebrow from him.

In an address at the Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow on Tuesday, Ferguson not only dismissed Beckham's chances of providing the spark that would ignite professional 'soccer' in the United States following his summer move to LA Galaxy, he also claimed that the former England captain's marriage to pop star wife Victoria in 1999 acted as a critical, and unwelcome, turning point in his metamorphosis from footballer to celebrity.

Ferguson said Beckham "was never a problem until he got married. He used to go into work with the academy coaches at night time and he was a fantastic young lad. But getting married into that entertainment scene was a difficult thing and from that moment his life was never going to be the same. He is such a big celebrity, football is only a small part. The big part is his persona".

Beckham the icon and Beckham the footballer became entwined long before his departure from United to Madrid in 2003 and the 32-year-old's unique appeal undoubtedly prompted Galaxy to offer him a reputed 125 million over five years.

Beckham, absent from England's squad for the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers due to a knee injury, faces a huge challenge if he is to help soccer compete with basketball, baseball and American football.

Ferguson said: "In the late Seventies, I went to America with Aberdeen and there were guys like [Teofilo] Cubillas and Peter Shilton there. Before that there was Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer.

"But I don't know what kind of impact David can make because David Beckham himself can't change the whole country."
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