A Conversation with David Beckham

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In 2005, legendary professional football player David Beckham was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, making it his priority to give a voice to children in need throughout the world. In this conversation, he discusses why he got involved with UNICEF, his rise in football, the secrets behind his success and his perspectives on balancing life in the public eye while making time for what he calls his “number-one priority,” his family.

On working with UNICEF: “The work that UNICEF does [and] the ground staff is truly incredible. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be involved. And when Kofi Annan phoned me and said, ‘We’d love you to be an Ambassador,’ it was one of the proudest moments, because I know how important it is to give back, but it’s also – I’m very proud to be in a position where I have a voice, where I have the opportunity to change things on the ground in these different places.” 

On what made him break through: “One of the reasons why I was so successful is because I had the right people around me. I had great friends, great family, even until the day I retired and that was five years ago. Even in my Sunday league team, I had a manager called Stuart Underwood and he insisted on every game that we turn up in a shirt and tie. And that’s one of the things that kind of got installed in me from a very young age. Hard work is something that I’ve always been about and never given up.” 

On work/life balance: “Everyone’s busy, everyone has obligations, but my obligations [are] always my children, my family. It’s my one commitment that I try to never fail at, because I think that it’s my number-one priority. They’re the people that are there for me when I fail at things, when I’m successful, and they’re the people that stand behind me.”