David Beckham has been appointed as China's first global soccer ambassador in a bid to revive the game's image after it was rocked by a match-fixing scandal and an exodus of internationals from the country's Super League.
Beckham's role will include helping to bring the Chinese Super League (CSL) to the world stage, as well as raising the profile of the game in the country itself.
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder said he was excited about the latest challenge in his career and is determined to do his best for the world's most populous country.
"I am honoured to have been asked to play such an important role at this special time in Chinese football history," Beckham said in a statement released by IMG. "I'm excited by the prospect of promoting the world's greatest game to Chinese sports fans as I've seen first-hand the growing interest in football there. This is a wonderful sport that inspires people across the world and brings families together, so I'm relishing the opportunity of introducing more fans to the game."
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) was equally encouraged by the appointment and are sure his popularity will have a positive effect on their country.
"[This year] marks the 20th anniversary of professional football in China and the special ambassadorship of David Beckham will attract global attention to Chinese football and the CSL," the CFA said in a statement. "While in China, he will attend the CSL and visit clubs to get a deeper insight into football in China. He will also help us to inspire and motivate many children to participate in this beautiful game."
China made headlines recently after managing to import high-profile players such as Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, as well as coaches including Italian Marcello Lippi to the country. However, the former Chelsea pair chose to head back to Europe after just one season.
The country took a further blow earlier this month when the CFA found 58 people guilty of involvement in match-fixing.