David Beckham has admitted that despite his fame and fortune he still gets starstruck.
The footballer told BBC Radio 2’s Line of Enquiry that among those who had left him in awe were Nelson Mandela, Muhammad Ali and Stevie Wonder.
In the wide-ranging two-hour interview on Christmas Day he also discussed how his father used to make him cry during training, his feelings on leaving Manchester United and his wife’s verdict on his dancing prowess.
Selecting some of his favourite music for the show, Beckham chose Wonder’s Superstition before launching into an anecdote about meeting the Motown great.
“He turned round to me and said, it was quite funny, he said, ‘If you could teach me to play football, then you’d be some player’. You know, those sort of moments you cherish.”
Asked what it was like to have the tables turned and be starstruck in the presence of others, Beckham replied: “It’s quite embarrassing because I was like turning round to Victoria and saying, ‘I really want a picture but I can’t ask him’.”
In the end, his wife had to ask for the snap on his behalf. “I still get very starstruck by many people that we still meet,” Beckham revealed.
Among others that have left him giddy are Ali and Mandela, he told the programme.
Beckham also spoke of the strict regime that turned him into a football prodigy. He said he and his father would spend hours every day working on his skills. “There were times he used to make me cry because I wanted to use my right foot the whole time and he’d say: ‘No. We’re not going in until you carry on using that left foot’.”
Of the emotion he endured when his time at Manchester United came to an end, he told the programme: “I wanted to play for Man United my whole career and finish my career at Man United. It was my boyhood dream to play for them and I never wanted to leave.”