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David Beckham: My children know how lucky they are

Published 21/12/2015

David Beckham is a Unicef ambassador
David Beckham is a Unicef ambassador

David Beckham says his children know how lucky they are to "have the life they have".

The former England football captain said his children are aware of the good work he has done over the years for charities such as Unicef, and that he sits down with them following a trip and discusses every detail with them.

Beckham's latest project, a BBC One documentary titled For The Love Of The Game, saw him set himself a challenge of playing a football game on all seven continents of the world, racing against the clock to get back for his last one, the all-star Unicef fundraising match at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Talking about if it was important for his children to see the documentary, he said: "My kids have been asking to come on these trips with me for years so at some point they will, obviously the priority is their schooling, but they are interested in these trips. My children always understand how important and how lucky they are to have the life they have."

He travelled to 11 countries in 10 days and in each destination experienced the "power of the game". His first three matches were in countries where he is a Unicef ambassador, namely Papua New Guinea, Nepal and Djibouti.

He played games in all three in varying circumstances, including a touching match with children from an earthquake-damaged school in Nepal and with players from three African countries who live in a refugee camp in the Djibouti desert.

The game in Nepal had to be cut short due to security concerns as the number of fans who showed up at the square where the game was being played increased rapidly. But Beckham said he never felt unsafe and was more concerned for the safety of the people in the crowds.

He said: "That particular moment I was more worried after about the people in the crowd. I felt safe, I never felt in danger at any point throughout the trip, but you start to worry about the crowds, the kids in the crowds and things like that."

Beckham is joined on his travels in the documentary by his friends Simon Oliveira and David Gardner.

While the documentary features snippets of his family, including the touching moment his 16-year-old son Brooklyn played alongside him at Old Trafford, he spoke about his wife, former Spice Girl and designer, Victoria not featuring in it.

He said the focus of the documentary was to showcase the good work done by Unicef and to highlight the "power of the game and what the game means to so many people around the world".

"If we had wanted Victoria to be a part of this she was more than happy to be part of it," he said. "But I think this was something separate that we wanted to ... use this documentary to highlight the game and what it's meant to me and what it's meant to so many people. Like I said, Victoria would have done something in it, but I don't think we needed her to."

Asked if they made a decision to keep their private lives and careers separate, he said: "We don't sit down and discuss about keeping things separate but I think we both have our own things that we focus on. We both have things we do individually and together. I wouldn't walk into her studio and try and tell her how to make a dress ... it might be interesting if I did but we definitely have our own individual things."

One of which, for him, was getting to play a game of football in Antarctica, which he says, to his knowledge, has never been done before.

Before tackling the freezing Antarctic temperatures though, he heads to Argentina to play with a community youth team deep in urban Buenos Aires. The game also sees him slipping on an Argentine football shirt.

He said: "The fact that now I can go to these certain places like Argentina and I remember putting on that shirt and people going 'You sure you want to do that' and then after there was reports about me wearing an Argentine shirt and why would I do that, but it's, it's the power of the game, it's the power of fortunately what I can bring as well."

From there he heads to Antarctica, and then to Miami where he plays a match with two university women's football teams on top of a skyscraper.

Asked if it was an eye-opener playing against the teams in Miami, his last match on the trip before his final game at Old Trafford, he said knowing the high standards of football over there, he was "expecting a tough game".

"I just wasn't expecting to get smashed in the first two minutes by one of the girls and obviously once that happened I was like, OK this is going to be a tough game," he said.

Before that he commented on the fact that Victoria has been quoted as saying she did not want their daughter, Harper, to play football.

He explained: "It's not that she doesn't want her to play football but after having three boys that do want to play football, she wants to be able to have one of our children that wants to go and do stuff with her, like ballet or tap. At the moment Harper plays tennis. So Victoria would be happy with whatever any of the kids go into, even if Harper does go and play football she will obviously support her.

"I think Victoria has obviously had 16 years of sitting on a cold, Sunday morning sideline watching the boys and she'd like to sit indoors and watch Harper either play tennis, or ballet or tap."

:: For The Love Of The Game airs on December 29 at 9pm on BBC One

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