David Beckham will be honoured later this year with the UEFA President’s Award in celebration of his professional and personal achievements.
Beckham, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England midfielder, is “a true football icon of his generation,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in a statement.
“The President’s Award recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities,” Ceferin said. “I have chosen David Beckham as the recipient of this year’s award because he has been a global ambassador for football, promoting the game and all its values in every corner of the planet. His tireless humanitarian efforts, which have helped the lives of many children around the world, should also be celebrated.”
The accolade, introduced in 1998 but not awarded annually, “recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities,” according to UEFA.
In the statement, Beckham, 43, said he was “proud to join the illustrious list of players who have previously won this award.”
“My career in football allowed me to actively participate in helping to improve the lives of numerous children across the globe in cooperation with UNICEF and it gives me great pleasure that I am able to give something back to society,” Beckham said.
Roma’s Francesco Totti was the recipient last year, with Johan Cruyff (2013), Franz Beckenbauer (2012) and Paulo Maldini (2003) among others. Beckham will be the third recipient from England, joining Sir Bobby Charlton in 2008 and Sir Bobby Robson in 2002.
Beckham appeared in 762 games for club and country, having won 115 caps for England and also playing for the LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. He was the runner-up to Rivaldo in the Ballon d’Or voting in 1999, the year he won the Champions League with United, and is currently part-owner of Major League Soccer’s unnamed Miami expansion club.