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MARVIN CHOW: Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mr. David Beckham.
MARVIN CHOW: Nice to see you, Sir. How are you? Wave.
DAVID BECKHAM: Morning.
MARVIN CHOW: Have a seat. Have a seat. Welcome. Welcome to Google. So let’s kick off, no pun intended, with a little soccer. Or, for our international friends, football. You know, you David, you really have had a global soccer career. I mean, you joined Manchester United at the young age of 17. You won 9 major trophies in 11 years there. Very impressive. You then joined Real Madrid where you won another trophy, and then since 2007, you’ve been here in the U.S. playing for the LA Galaxy, where last year you won yet another trophy. And I think that puts you in a very rare group of trifecta winners of three trophies on three different countries. So congratulations.
DAVID BECKHAM: Thank you very much.
MARVIN CHOW: And then obviously, while preparing to meet you last night, I read even more news last night. The big news that you’ve decided to stay here in the U.S. and continue to play for the U.S., the LA Galaxy. Congratulations. And I think we’re excited that you chose Google as a place to come talk to your fans and the rest of the world about that news. So why don’t we start there? Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that decision to stay with the Galaxy.
DAVID BECKHAM: Well, good morning, first of all. I’m excited to be here. To be part of this is exciting for me, and to be here with you all and everyone else watching around the world, it’s exciting. Google’s one of the biggest companies in the world. So I’m honored to be here today. My decision, obviously, throughout my career has always been about my family, about my career, about my footballing career. And I’ve been lucky to have played over the years with some of the biggest clubs in the world, some of the best players in the world. And it’s been exciting. I’ve been lucky enough to have been successful in many different clubs that I’ve played for. And professionally, coming to the U.S. was something that I was excited about. It was a challenge. It was a new challenge. I played in Europe. I’d won everything that I possibly could in Europe, and I wanted a new challenge.
MARVIN CHOW: When you conquer Europe, it’s definitely the next–
DAVID BECKHAM: Like I said, I was very lucky in my career.
MARVIN CHOW: You are.
DAVID BECKHAM: So then, obviously, coming to America was an exciting thing for me, and I’ve had a great five years. I met a lot of good people, a lot of great fans around the world, traveled around America, played in different parts of America, which I’d never played in before, and it’s been exciting. So this championship at the end of this year was one of the most satisfying in my career, I must admit. To have been here for the time that I’ve been here, to reach the goals that I’d reached off the field, with raising the popularity of the game. I’d reached those goals. The only goal that I hadn’t reached was a championship with the Galaxy, which is the main reason why I came to America and came to the Galaxy as a franchise. So that was missing, but now it’s not.
MARVIN CHOW: Congratulations.
DAVID BECKHAM: But obviously, with the new contract now, it was a decision that I didn’t take lightly because I obviously had other offers from other clubs around the world. And at 36 years old you don’t expect to still get these offers. So that was nice. But it was all about where I felt the future was going for the game here in the U.S., and also where my family was happiest. And my family is happiest here at the moment. We love living in LA. We love living in America. We’ve adapted the culture, we’ve adapted everything that this country has, and we enjoy that. So I’m going to continue to enjoy playing soccer here, and my family will continue to enjoy it.
MARVIN CHOW: Well, speaking of, kind of away from the Galaxy– I saw when you came in 2007, you made a very public statement that you wanted to help grow the game of soccer in the U.S. Can you talk a little bit about how that’s going and some areas around growing the game here?
DAVID BECKHAM: Well that’s the thing. It’s one of the reasons why I came to this country. It’s because, for me, soccer is the number one sport around the world apart from America. Don’t get me wrong, the other sports, American football, basketball, baseball, they’re all great sports and have great athletes in these sports. But the number one game in the world is soccer. So I want to get soccer to a different level in this country. And I think that we’ve done that in the last– I’ve felt it change in the last couple of years. And that’s why I didn’t want to walk away from it because I felt the change. And to walk away at this point would be disappointing because I’ve been part of that growth, and I want to continue to be part of that growth. So it’s an exciting time. And it’s great for the family as well, great for the family to be here.
MARVIN CHOW: Well, speaking of the family, I think we’ve all read how important family is to you. So what role did Victoria and the kids have in decision, in making this decision?
DAVID BECKHAM: I mean, they have the final answer. It’s as simple as that. That sounded wrong. No, obviously, when you’re married, when you have children, your priorities totally change. 10 years ago, when I was playing at Manchester United, at Real Madrid– obviously, we were married, but it was a lot easier for us to make decisions based on our careers. Whereas, we’ve got three amazing boys now and a little girl that we have to look after, and it’s all about them. So our priorities are about our children. But like I said, in the question before, the growth of the game is growing. And to see when I first arrived there’d be 12 teams in the league, now there’s 19. There are stadiums being built around America solely for soccer, which is a big thing. And that’s the exiting part of why and one of the reasons why I wanted to stay.
MARVIN CHOW: Yeah, well I think the impact of your presence on the game has been very clear over the last five years. I think one of the other questions that I’m sure is on a lot of people’s minds with this decision is really, why come to Google to tell the world and talk to your fans?
DAVID BECKHAM: Why not? Why not?
MARVIN CHOW: So simple.
DAVID BECKHAM: Like I said, it’s one of the biggest companies in the world, and it reaches so many millions of people. And I felt that it’s something that you always see when you open your computer.
MARVIN CHOW: We like that.
DAVID BECKHAM: And something I was really excited about. So like I said, I’m honored to be here with everyone, and thanks for coming out because there’s a lot of you. Thank you.
MARVIN CHOW: So in getting ready for this visit we saw that you posted a video callout for questions on YouTube, which is fantastic. And I’d say from that video we’ve collected tons of questions. We’ve gone through them and we’ve curated them, and obviously we’ll go through some of those today. I think, just also so you know, your Google following is also very strong. Obviously, you can see the people here in Charlie’s, but in addition to this group there are about 26 other offices from around the world dialed in to watch this and ask you questions as well. And I think, if it weren’t so late in some of the other parts of the world, we’d have even more than that. So congratulations on building a following here at Google as well. So let’s dig in to some of the questions right away. We’ll start with football. Tou Moo Yee from California wants to know, what is the biggest difference between playing football in America versus Europe?
DAVID BECKHAM: I mean, there’s not a huge amount of difference. One of the biggest differences I’d say is just the travel. It’s literally the travel. In Europe we only have to travel about an hour to a game, or two hours at the most. Whereas, when we play East Coast and we’re playing in New York, it’s a 5, 5 and 1/2 hour journey. So that’s a big difference but on the field, the level of play has definitely gone up in the last three or four years. And I think that it’s at a stage now where this game is starting to attract the interest of some big names and big players in Europe. And I think there has to be a certain change with some of the things that goes on throughout the league. But I think it’s a league now, where European teams, big European teams, are coming over for their pre-seasons and they’re playing against us. So five years ago, the Galaxy had been heard of but I think now, with the interest of the players that have come over, such as Robbie Keane and obviously London Donovan as a U.S. star, we’ve had that interest and it’s exciting to be part of.