David Beckham is to star in a film about Real Madrid, the Spanish football team.
The England captain will be joined by some of the most illustrious names in international football in the semi-fictional docu-drama, including his team-mates Ronaldo, Zidane and Raul. Beckham was the star of the show at the unveiling yesterday of Real: the Movie in Cannes.
A poster of the former Manchester United player was unfurled, while a trailer promoting the film focused on him. The film, being made by the club's television company, is in the final stages of shooting and is expected to premiere this summer to tie in with Real's international tour.
It interweaves five storylines, set in New York, Madrid, Tokyo, Caracas and a village in Senegal, with footage of Real players in training, undergoing physiotherapy and on last year's Asia tour. One of the plotlines involves a Japanese schoolgirl so obsessed with Beckham that she cuts her hair like him before trying to meet him on a visit to Tokyo.
Another sub-plot set in the US features a female football player who is forced to retire after injury. A spokesman for the movie said: "The film captures a team with one of the most spectacular line-ups in the world. Real Madrid is one of the biggest brands in the world, not just in the arena of sports." He added: "We expect the film will be a big draw, especially in 'football countries' in Latin America, Europe, Asia and, increasingly, the US."
The film will enable Real Madrid, the second richest football club in the world after Manchester United, to cash in on the celebrity status of Beckham and his fellow players.
Beckham is already a global business in his own right, with lucrative sponsorship deals with Pepsi, Vodafone and the sunglasses company Police.
His £25m signing to Real has already proved lucrative for the club; he is credited with boosting shirt sales.
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