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David Beckham strips off for Giorgio Armani ad

LONDON - Former England captain David Beckham has stripped to his underwear for Giorgio Armani's latest international billboard campaign, and will receive a reported $20m (£9.77m) in a three-year deal.

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Beckham, who retained his multimillion-pound sponsorship deals with Adidas, Pepsi and Motorola following the completion of his move from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in July, signed up as the global ambassador of Giorgio Armani in November.

The deal will net Beckham a reported $20m over three years, while the ads, which show the player wearing Emporio Armani underwear, will be shown on billboards in New York, London, Paris, Milan, Rome and Tokyo.

The story has been splashed across the national press today making all of the tabloids and the frontpage of the Sun, with the headline "Swollenballs".

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The campaign will boost Beckham's profile in the US. The American edition of Vanity Fair is planning to run a special gatefold edition, featuring more shots of the footballer, in its February edition.

The ad, which shows Beckham in close-fitting white underwear as he reclines on a bed, is understood to be the first in a series of ads the footballer will do for Giorgio Armani over the next three years.

It is not the first time Beckham has had an association with the Giorgio Armani brand, having worn the designer's suits as part of the England squad's 2006 World Cup campaign in Germany.

The Giorgio Armani deal, which was brokered by Simon Fuller's entertainment company 19 Entertainment, is the largest and most high profile one he has signed since he chose to move from Spain's La Liga to America's Major League Soccer earlier this year.

The midfielder also has a deal with perfume makers Coty.

Giorgio Armani said: "[David] represents a notion of modern masculinity, as a sports hero, husband and father. He is also a man with a great sense of style.

"There was a time when soccer players were not always considered to be fashion role models. David Beckham has helped to change that."

Beckham added: "I first met Mr Armani quite a few years ago while I was working with the England team when he designed our World Cup suit.

"I've been a big fan of his style for a long time and, through the years, my wife and I have become friends with him, so I'm happy to be working with him now."

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