Beckham scores with new Vodafone deal

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The Independent Online

A loss of form on the pitch and lurid tales of his private life appear not to have diminished David Beckham's prodigious earning power.

A loss of form on the pitch and lurid tales of his private life appear not to have diminished David Beckham's prodigious earning power.

The England captain yesterday signed a one-year extension to his sponsorship deal with Vodafone, the world's biggest mobile phone group.

Beckham, whose face has been used to promote Vodafone for the past two years, will front an upcoming advertising campaign. His image will also be used in games and on screen-savers on Vodafone live! - the company's multimedia service. No value was put on this particular deal, but Beckham has raked in millions from lending his name and face to products from sportswear to sunglasses.

Beckham was football's highest earner last season, with income estimated by France Football magazine to have topped £15m.

But the past 12 months have been far from smooth. His move to the "galacticos" of Real Madrid from Manchester United last year was followed by accusations that he cheated on his wife Victoria, and then a miserable Euro 2004. For the first time in his life, questions were asked about his abilities on a football pitch.

Yesterday's deal buoyed Vodafone's shares, which advanced 1.75p to 123.75p despite cautious comments on European mobile companies generally from the investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston. CSFB reckons second-quarter results across the sector revealed a general tightening of profit margins.

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