Beckham returns to field for UNICEF game

David Beckham to play in match with Alex Ferguson for first time since his retirement two years ago

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Oct 3, 2015

Former English national soccer team captain David Beckham will play in a football match for the first time since retiring, more than two years ago, with Alex Ferguson who managed him during his years with Manchester United.

In a UNICEF fundraising fixture Nov. 14, the 40-year-old Beckham will captain a Britain and Ireland team against a world all-star side led by 1998 World Cup winner Zinedine Zidane and managed by Carlo Ancelotti.

The game is taking place at Old Trafford where Beckham became a global star under Ferguson before leaving in 2003.

"I retired two years ago and I never thought I would be playing again, but it's for a good cause so I'm excited about it," Beckham said Friday. "It's always emotional going back there [Old Trafford]."

The midfielder went on to captain England and play for Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy and AC Milan before ending his career at Paris Saint-Germain in May 2013. The same month, Ferguson retired from United after more than 26 years as manager and he has not been back in the dugout since then.

The pair is being reunited two years after Ferguson used his autobiography to bemoan an apparent preoccupation with fame by Beckham and how it affected his work-rate before being sold to Madrid.

"He is like a father figure to me, he has been for so many years, and he gave me the chance to play for Manchester United," Beckham told the BBC. "It's an amazing thing to have him involved in this."

Beyond the captains, details of who will be playing under Ferguson and Ancelotti, the former AC Milan, Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSG coach, have not been disclosed.

The game is Beckham's latest UNICEF initiative after 11 years as a goodwill ambassador.

"I want a world where children can grow up safe from violence, free from poverty and protected from preventable diseases," Beckham said. "This match gives me the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and vital funds to help reach the children who need it most."