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Beckham to release picture book in October

Former soccer player David Beckham arrives for a meet and greet session with students from the Guardian Academy and the Singapore Associatio
Former soccer player David Beckham arrives for a meet and greet session with students from the Guardian Academy and the Singapore Associatio

LONDON (Reuters) - Former England soccer captain David Beckham will release a picture book in October featuring images from his playing career in a deal with a UK publishing unit of French media company Lagardere.

The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder, who retired from football in May after a brief spell with French club Paris St Germain, is expected to release the book on October 31 with Lagardere's UK-based Headline Publishing Group.

Headline's non-fiction publishing director, Jonathan Taylor, bought the world rights in a deal with the 38-year-old's management company XIX Entertainment for a book the publisher said will be a personal celebration of his playing days.

"David Beckham is, without a doubt, the most universally recognized and popular sports person on the planet, and this gorgeous book will be a superb way for his millions of fans around the world to celebrate David's remarkable achievements within football," Taylor said in a statement.

Beckham earned 115 caps for England, a record for an outfield player, and won the Champions League, six Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Manchester United.

He also won league titles with Real Madrid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the United States and PSG in France.

His new book is just one part of the post-retirement plans for Britain's richest sportsman, whose easy charm and image as a family man should ensure the Beckham brand continues to prosper.

Managed by the XIX Entertainment group which has British motor racing driver Lewis Hamilton and Wimbledon tennis champion Andy Murray on its books, Beckham has capitalized on his film-star looks and athlete's body to market underwear for Swedish fashion chain H&M and luxury watches for Swiss manufacturer Breitling.

He is married to former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer Victoria Beckham, with whom he has four children.

Lagardere posted a 2.3 percent rise in first-quarter sales in May, driven by the publishing success of the "Fifty Shades" bestsellers and a biography of Sweden international soccer player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

(This version of the story removes the references to autobiography in the headline and throughout the copy.)

(Reporting by Paul Casciato)

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