A long time ago Italian football players were issued shorter shorts. Their shorts used to reach them to the knees. The new ones looked more elegant and, more importantly, they were more revealing. The novelty hit the bull’s eye in terms of female fans of the Italian football. The number of female spectators filling the arenas increased dramatically.
Today David Beckham makes much more money then other footballers. At the same time, as a midfielder he is not even on the list of the world’s Top 50 football players.
Judging by opinion polls, female fans watch a football game mostly because they like watching sexy football players (pictures) run around the field.
Sports agencies put a lot of hype in marketing campaigns of the most photogenic and handsome players. Today the showbiz rules apply to football. Any girl/woman with a weakness for football will quickly come up with a list of the world’s best footballers. But are those guys really the best in the word? Definitely not.
The case of David Beckham is a flagrant example of a clever marketing campaign. His case is not a lucky coincidence. No doubt about it, Beckham is a handsome lad. And it is true that he used to play well (he plays much worse these days). There is no denying the fact that his marriage did him good. Both celebrities get wonderful publicity when one of them ties the knot with another. But David Beckham would not have become a football megastar if marketing experts for some reason had chosen to ignore the young player a few years ago.
David Beckham was still in the making as a player with good prospects in the youth team of Manchester United when his legend began to take shape. The spin doctors hired by the club would regularly feed the press little tidbits about a new football star who would grace the British football in the near future. Meanwhile, Beckham started playing for the regular team. Back then he looked really impressive. He had a knack for tactics, he could deliver a great pass and curl one in. Yet he was not the only one who could do the above things at the time. A new generation of talented players came into being in Manchester, those new players would win later several English championships and the Champions League. Despite being one of the many exceptionally talented members of that team, Beckham would get a lion’s share of praise and publicity.
Beckham was a business enterprise from the very start. Investors put money in him, and one day that money began to pay off. Major brands were lining up to have the player take part in a marketing campaign.
As a business entity, Beckham was running pretty smoothly. As a football player, he was deteriorating. The situation resulted in a conflict between the midfielder and Manchester United’s coach Alex Ferguson. Following a lousy game, Ferguson apparently flipped his lid and threw a football boot at Beckham. The boot landed right above his eye. All British tabloids ran a picture of Beckham with a few stitches over his brow. In an attempt to smooth over the scandal, the coach made up a story in which he simply kicked the boot because he felt frustrated after the game. So it was pure accident. The boot happened to hit Beckham’s head.
Beckham accumulated lots of mercantile reasons to swap clubs. He clearly made the most of that conflict with Ferguson. Eventually, he signed a contract with Real Madrid. While the media were salivating over the news of Beckham’s transfer, football experts made sarcastic and cynical comments as to the real motives behind the deal. Football experts never doubted that Beckham had moved to Real for commercial reasons. For starters, Beckham was not even supposed to play for the main team. His position in the Madrid club was filled by Luis Figo, another football star who is a great player indeed. The purchase of the British superstar was, without doubt, a move aimed at boosting merchandise and ticket sales of the club.
Real paid some 40 million euro break-up fee to Manchester for Beckham. The sum recovered one week later after a massive worldwide sale of official Real team shirts bearing number 23 and the name Beckham on the back. On the other hand, the footballer did not do much for Real on the field. His professional growth got stalled a long while ago, he simply was not able to take charge of the situation in a foreign club that had enough first-rate players on board.
The irresistible David Beckham is expected to advertise underwear in the near future. He was reported to have signed a 1.1 million euro contract with Calvin Klein. It’s great news for the girls who go ape over Beckham’s pretty face. Soon they will find it on the pages of various glossy magazines.
Competent football specialists have long insisted that Beckham became a member of both Real and English national team only because of pressure mounted on coaches by sponsors. They invested loads of money in him (a contract with Adidas is reportedly worth 80 million euros, and therefore they are confident he must play regardless of his condition.) But having found himself at this particular point of his career, Beckham must feel pretty unhappy himself. He just cannot but see his colleagues, the profession footballers, begin to withdraw their respect. Despite the fact that he makes a lot more money than other footballers, Beckham, as a right-flank midfielder, is unlikely to be ranked among the Top 50 football players of the world.
Translated by Guerman Grachev
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