The difficult art of being David Beckham


The Briton remembers his years at Real Madrid, his vertigo when he retired and the keys of his adaptation to the new times.

“My whole football career was based on control. For me, the risk was to change equipment or move to a new country. When I left football was when I started doing things that required a certain boldness and that were not allowed before, such as riding a motorcycle, diving or snowboarding. Internally, I’ve always known that I’m made to dare. ” On May 2, David Beckham (London, 1975) turned 44 years old. Next May 18 marks the sixth anniversary of his retirement from football. And his words, delivered in an interview given to EL PAÍS during his visit to Madrid on April 29 as ambassador of the Tudor watchmaking house, are framed in the task that has occupied him since 2013: his consecration as a fundamental reference of that elusive term called “personal brand”.


The Beckham brand, today, is articulated through a series of business collaborations ranging from male cosmetics to whiskey. “For me, the key to any collaboration or sponsorship is authenticity. Also stability, because all my collaborations are long-term. I’m not interested in entering projects and leaving quickly, “he explains, citing his collaboration with Tudor, which began in 2017.” I’m a watch collector, and one of the first that I bought, and one of my favorites, was an old man. Tudor Then I discovered that it was a brand associated with Rolex, and I thought it was something special, because I brought several Rolex. Everything is easier when a brand has its own history. ” Now that the celebrity is measured in social networks, it is worth remembering that Beckham did not open his Instagram account until 2015, a relatively late date. Today it has 55 million followers, but the exfutbolista, influential for decades, the category of influencer is something else. “It’s not a word I like,” he says. “I think if I said I was influential in something, my father would probably come to give me a slap on the wrist and tell me to relax,” he jokes. “But, to be honest, people talking about me in those terms makes me feel special, because it means that I have left a mark on other people and changed something,” he says. “Years ago, when I played football, people would copy my hair or my tattoos.” Do you remember what he thought the first time he saw a fan imitating his appearance? “It was funny. At that time, I found it very positive.”

Although the Briton has been more than five years removed from football, it is inevitable to talk about the years he devoted to the sport king. “I will always miss football, but I retired at 38, which is a very advanced age, and until then I enjoyed every minute,” he explains. “I’ve been lucky to be able to dedicate myself to my passion and live from it. Even if I had not been a professional footballer, I would have played in any way. I’ve always been like this”. Beckham ensures that he has an excellent memory of the years he played for Real Madrid (2003-2007) and lived in the Spanish capital. “It’s one of the cities I miss the most,” he says. “I loved living here for four years. It was one of the best times for me and my family. I’m still talking to a lot of my teammates, I’m in touch with the president and, of course, I see Zizou a lot. He is an extraordinary person. ”

Zizou is, of course, Zinedine Zidane, Beckham’s partner in the galactic years of Real Madrid and current coach of the team during a particularly turbulent season. “I would never say anything bad about Zizou,” Beckham steps out. “He’s a good person, an amazing player, he works hard, he knows the city and the club. He has achieved many things. He left and now he’s back. And changes are already seen in the players, the club and the team. Everyone respects him as a person, as a player and as a manager. He knows how to make his team play in the most exciting way. ”

The serenity conveyed by Beckham’s words is also reflected in his appearance: for years he abandoned the sudden changes of look to settle in an impeccable form of stylistic maturity that fits the contemporary tailoring, old school haircuts and emblematic tattoos “Stability in style comes when you get older,” he replies. “You have to assume that, at a certain age, there are things in your hair or style that you can not do anymore. You become a different person, you do not try so many things. Also, in my case, I have four children. Three of them are guys, they have their own style and I can not compete with them anymore. Let them take the witness them. Now I like the simple and the classic. ”


The Beckham phenomenon is not understood without the other half of the brand: Victoria Beckham has long since left behind her career as a singer to embark on an adventure that has made her a respected and accurate designer. “We have been together for 20 years and 20 years married, and after that time you have a relationship where you trust your partner’s criteria in life and in business,” explains David Beckham, who says he shares many of his business decisions. . “It is important that two people talk about success and what we want to do in the future.”

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