Why did Beckham choose number 23?

DAVID Beckham agreed to wear 23 on his Real Madrid shirt only after his wife told him it was the number of basketball legend Michael Jordan, it emerged yesterday.

The England captain wanted the number seven shirt at his new club - the number he wore at Manchester United - but this is already the property of Real’s star striker, Raul.

The midfielder was also offered the number four of former defender Fernando Hierro but opted for 23 when Victoria told him it was the shirt number of the retired Jordan, who is also represented by SFX, the agency which handles Beckham’s affairs.

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The revelation that Beckham’s wife chose his number will comes as little surprise to Manchester United fans, many of whom still blame Victoria’s meddling for wrecking Beckham’s relationship with the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson.

But her choice seems to have been successful so far. On the first day of sale last week, fans bought all 8,000 "Beckham 23" shirts, netting the club more than 400,000 from a player who has yet to kick a ball in competition.

Real Madrid’s sporting director, Jorge Valdano, revealed the role of La Pija, Posh, in her husband’s choice of shirt in an interview yesterday with the Spanish sports daily As. Valdano, a former Argentina defender, said: "David told us that he would like the number seven, but that he would never ask for it with Raul in the side.

"We spoke to him about the numbers four and 23. He asked my opinion and I told him I prefer the classic numbers from one to 11.

"But I also told him that I understood things had changed and today’s fans can easily accept any number. He said he thought it was a bad idea to delay a decision on the subject.

"Finally, his wife intervened to say something like: ‘The number 23 didn’t do Jordan any harm.’

"You can’t argue with a statement like that.

"David looked at me and said: ‘The number 23 then’."

Beckham was presented with the club’s famous white shirt by the legendary Real forward Alfredo di Stefano.