He helped bring the Games back to Britain, and is one of his sport's greatest ambassadors.
So it’s hardly surprising that there have been raised eyebrows following David Beckham's surprise omission from the Team GB Olympic football team.
Gavin and Stacey star James Corden, led celebrity supporters expressing their frustration at the decision.
"To ask David Beckham to give everything to winning the Olympics for London and then not picking him to take part is so disrespectful," tweeted the actor, who became friends with the footballer through their work for Comic Relief.
It was a sentiment echoed by former England striker Gary Lineker.
"Terrible shame for Beckham having given so much to the Olympic bid and football," he wrote.
"Never thought for a second that David Beckham would be excluded from GB's team. What I don’t understand is stringing him along by including him in a short list?".
Singer Ronan Keating added: "Don't understand why David Beckham was not picked for Olympic team.
"One of the greatest ambassadors for the game. And still totally capable."
And former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also voiced his disappointment.
"David Beckham deserves to be in Team GB. Played a crucial part in the bid & at least he’d be good at penalties," he said.
David, 37, was included in coach Stuart Pearce’s initial list of 35 players, but was overlooked for the final 18-man squad as one of three players over the age of 23 allowed to compete.
Manchester City's Micah Richards, Liverpool winger Craid Bellamy and Manchester United's Ryan Giggs have instead been chosen to take part.
He has been widely credited with helping bring the Olympics to London as a key part of the delegation that travelled to Singapore and won the Games.
And last month he lit the Olympic torch when it landed in Cornwall, marking the flame's official arrival on British soil.
Following the news, David – who has more than 100 caps and is widely regarded as one of the country's greatest players – has been back on the training pitch with his team, LA Galaxy (pictured above).
He said: "Everyone know how much playing for my country has always meant to me. So I would have been honoured to have been part of this unique Team GB squad.
"Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me."
Stars take to Twitter to show support for Becks <
- James Corden: "To ask David Beckham to give everything to winning the Olympics for London and then not picking him to take part is so disrespectful"
- Gary Lineker: "Terrible shame for Beckham having given so much to the Olympic bid and football.
Never thought for a second that David Beckham would be excluded from GB's team.
There are arguments for and against DB selection. What I don't understand though, is why string him along by including him in a short list?"
- Ronan Keating: "Don't understand why David Beckham was not picked for Olympic team. One of the greatest ambassadors for the game. And still totally capable"
- John Prescott: "David Beckham deserves to be in Team GB. Played a crucial part in the bid & least he'd be good at penalties!"
- Golfer Lee Westwood: "I'm amazed David Beckham didn't get picked for the Olympic football team!"
- Lorraine Kelly: "I think it's a poor show David Beckham won't be in the Olympic football team – very petty. He would attract the crowds, and he deserves it"
- Piers Morgan: "Relax everyone - Beckham can still go the Olympics. He just has to buy a ticket like the rest of us"