Madrid, Aug 21 (IANS) Retired football legend David Beckham was awarded the 2018 UEFA President’s Award, the head of the European soccer organisation announced on Tuesday.
Aleksander Ceferin praised the superstar England international, 43, who played as a midfielder at Manchester United and Real Madrid, among others, and netted 130 goals in 762 matches with his national team and clubs, reports Efe.
“Beckham is a true football icon of his generation,” Ceferin said in a statement on UEFA’s website.
“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,” the president added.
Ceferin explained that this award “recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities.”
Beckham is set to receive the award, given since 1998, in Monaco later this year.
The six-time Premier League champion was quoted as saying it was “an honor” to win the award, adding “During my career I always tried to uphold the values of teamwork and fair play.”
He recalled that he had “unforgettable moments” in the UEFA Champions League, including “that magic night in Barcelona in 1999 when we beat Bayern in such dramatic fashion.”
After retiring in 2013, Beckham began his own foundation two years later called “7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund,” which the UEFA statement hailed for “tackling issues such as bullying, violence and child marriage, while also ensuring youngsters have the chance to attend school and have an education.”
Beckham added: “It gives me great pleasure that I am able to give something back to society. When people believe in you, you believe in yourself.”