David Beckham has come out of retirement for a great cause. The 40-year-old is embarking on a global soccer adventure to raise awareness for UNICEF. David will play seven games in seven continents, including a mountain village in Asia and in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador is documenting his journey on social media using the hashtag #LoveOfTheGame.
The father-of-four (Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper) came up with seven games in seven continents challenge as a way to celebrate his work with UNICEF over the last 10 years. Seven was his jersey number when he played for Manchester United, and it was the name of his charity foundation.
His first stop on Thursday was the unexplored jungle of Papua New Guinea in Oceania, where he had the novel experience of making a ball out of banana leaves. From there, the 40-year-old will travel on to Nepal in Asia – all the while followed by BBC cameras for a 90-minute documentary.
David will then face local teams on the streets of Buenos Aires (South America), Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, Miami in North America and frozen Antarctica.
His tour will finish at his former home Old Trafford, where he played for many years with Manchester United and where he will raise funds for UNICEF. David has called on a number of international stars to play the final game with him. He will captain the Great British XI against Zinedine Zidane's Rest of the World.
The adventure explains why David was absent when his son Romeo launched his latest Christmas campaign for Burberry, supported by the rest of the Beckham clan, including Victoria, on Tuesday. However, the retired player wouldn't have wanted to miss this chance to help other children.
"I remember sitting on a plane and discussing this idea with friends and never thinking it would become a reality," said the former England international. "I'm genuinely excited now we can realize this ambitious idea."
"Whether as a player or out in the field for UNICEF and other charitable partners, I have seen the transformational effect that sport and in particular football has on people's lives. This epic journey will allow me to show the positive side of the game I love and shine a light on the passion and selflessness of people that play this sport as a force for good.”
Victoria, who is a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, took to Instagram to share a photo supporting her husband as he embarks on his journey around the world.