BEIJING (AFP) - Football superstar David Beckham began a seven-day visit to China on Monday, sprinkling stardust at a charity event even as the domestic game reels from its latest humiliation.
The recently-retired former England captain was donating his football shirts for a children's charity at the start of a visit, in which he is expected to be joined by his glamorous wife Victoria on Sunday.
The 38-year-old announced his retirement last month, after winning the French Ligue One title with Paris Saint-Germain.
After donating his PSG shirt, along with those from AC Milan, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid, Manchester United and England to a children's charity in Beijing, he said his greatest experience came winning his 115 international caps.
"The biggest achievements of my career was to have played for that number of times," he said at the Soong Ching Ling Foundation charity event. "To be captain for my country was very, very special."
Beckham attracted more than 100,000 followers within two hours of launching on Monday his new account on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter.
Meanwhile, thousands of football fans heavily criticised the national team, which lost 1-5 to Thailand in a friendly game in China on Saturday - the latest in a long line of humiliations for Chinese football.
Many netizens were calling for the head of the deeply unpopular manager Jose Antonio Camacho.