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Beckham travels to China

Beijing, June 19, 2013 (IANS/EFE):
Soccer star David Beckham instructs Chinese children during an appearance at a stadium in Nanjing in eastern China's Jiangsu province Tuesday June 18, 2013. Beckham is on a seven-day tour in China as a soccer ambassador for the China Super League. (AP Photo)

Retired soccer champ David Beckham is in China to build enthusiasm for the game in the world's most populous country, where fans are pretty discouraged at the moment over the poor performance of their national team.

The former England international, who became a goodwill ambassador for Chinese soccer earlier this year, arrived in Beijing Monday, two days after China's national squad suffered a crushing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Thailand.

Beckham donated a jersey he wore with Paris-St. Germain, where he played his final match as a professional, at a charity auction in Beijing and opened an account on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.

The account of the star athlete and global celebrity attracted 100,000 followers within hours of the launch. Even so, Beckham's second visit in three months does not seem to be lifting the spirits of Chinese soccer fans, whose national side has only one win this year and will not qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Besides Beijing, Beckham will make stops in Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.


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