England football legend David Beckham has revealed that he wants Remain to win at the EU referendum, with a last ditch plea to the British public ahead of the 23 June vote. The multi-millionaire sports icon stressed that he would be passionate about the UK whatever the result of the historic ballot, but argued he was backing Remain to avoid isolating Britain.
"I grew up with a core group of young British players that included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville Brothers. Added to that was an experienced group of older British players such as Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce and Paul Ince," Beckham said.
"Now that team might have gone on to win trophies but we were a better and more successful team because of a Danish goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel, the leadership of an Irishman Roy Keane and the skill of a Frenchman in Eric Cantona."
He added: "I was also privileged to play and live in Madrid, Milan and Paris with teammates from all around Europe and the world.
"Those great European cities and their passionate fans welcomed me and my family and gave us the opportunity to enjoy their unique and inspiring cultures and people.
"We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone."
The endorsement comes after former England and Arsenal star Sol Campbell backed a Brexit. "If we want to see more British stars, we have to take back control," the Conservative campaigner wrote in the Mail on Sunday.
English cricket legend Sir Ian Botham has also thrown his support behind a Leave vote at the referendum, branding the EU as a "corrupt racket". "Cricket is a game where you achieve the greatest success when you are confident in your own ability to go out and stand proud. Britain has that spirit," he told The Sunday Times.
Beckham's intervention comes just two days before the referendum, with the latest online opinion from YouGov, of more than 1,600 people between 17 and 19 June, put Leave on 44% (+1) and Remain on 42% (-2). But a separate survey from NatCen, of more than 1,600 people between 16 May and 12 June, put Remain on 53% and Leave on 47%.