Crowds go wild for David Beckham in China
Arriving in Beijing to begin his new role as an ambassador for Chinese football, David Beckham was greeted by a mass of screaming fans delighted to get a glimpse of one of the world's biggest celebrities.
With appearances scheduled at local clubs and schools, the football star is aiming to inspire more young people to get involved with the sport. vHis first stop was a school auditorium, where he told a group of children that he was proud to be involved in the development of football in China.
"I'm excited by the prospect of promoting the world's greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I’ve seen firsthand the growing interest in football there," the former England captain said.
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"This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I'm relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game."
The sport's reputation in China is damaged following a match-fixing scandal that saw handfuls of officials, players and referees jailed or banned. In addition, the country did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
But David is keen not to get involved with any of the controversy. "I'm not a politician so anything that has gone on in the past has nothing to do with me," he said.
"It's as simple as that," he continued. "I am not here to clear up anything. I am here to educate the children and give them a chance of becoming professional footballers."
David's four-day visit will include training sessions with primary schoolchildren and visits to football clubs in Beijing, Qingdao and Wuhan.
Last week, David was in Berlin to promote his H&M Bodywear range. The star did a signing, where he greeted fans who had turned out to see him.