Retired soccer great David Beckham is in China to build enthusiasm for the beautiful game in the world's most populous country, though fans here are pretty discouraged at the moment over the poor performance of their national team.
The former England international, who became a goodwill ambassador for Chinese soccer earlier this year, arrived in Beijing on Monday, two days after China's national squad suffered a crushing 5-1 defeat at the hands of Thailand.
Beckham donated a jersey he wore with Paris-St. Germain, where he played his final match as a professional, at a charity auction in Beijing and opened an account on Sina Weibo, China's answer to Twitter.
The account of the star athlete and global celebrity attracted 100,000 followers within hours of the launch.
Even so, Beckham's second visit in three months does not seem to be lifting the spirits of Chinese soccer fans, whose national side has only one win this year and will not qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Besides Beijing, Beckham will make stops in Nanjing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.
His wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, will be accompanying him for a portion of the visit. EFE