Google's top 10 most searched for sports stars
1 David Beckham
2 Anna Kournikova
4 Kobe Bryant
6 Vince Carter
7 Allen Iverson
8 Serena Williams
9 Tiger Woods
10 Venus Williams
He may not quite match the broad appeal of Eminem or Brad Pitt, but David Beckham is now the world's eighth most sought after man.
The England captain has been listed in the top 10 for the most searched for men on internet search engine Google in 2002.
His growing popularity sees him sandwiched between Jennifer Lopez's love interest, the actor Ben Affleck, and European Footballer of the Year Ronaldo.
While the Manchester United midfielder cannot quite match the marketability of actors Vin Diesel and Josh Hartnett (in fifth and sixth respectively), he ranked as the most sought after sports personality.
The World Cup clearly accounted for his increased popularity, but ousting tennis starlet Anna Kournikova from her usual top spot is impressive in any year.
Remarkably, he was way ahead of the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods and any of the NBA's big names.
And when you look at the searches for images, England's footballing clothes horse ranked even higher at number three.
Beckham's growing worldwide popularity proves that he is not just the apple of the British public's affections.
David Beckham profile
The Asian market accounted for much of the Becks searches as his, Manchester United's and England's marketing machines cranked up their interests in the Far East in 2002.
According to BBC News Online technology correspondent Mark Ward, it is this push that has made the difference.
He said: "England went into PR
overdrive a long time before the World Cup and the Far East nations are notoriously big net users.
"So they think of a regonisable face and they think of Beckham, because of the support for both England and Manchester United out there.
"The fact he is number one on Google's sports list is no surprise, but I wouldn't have expected him so high in the men's top 10.
"It shows his appeal is obviously spreading."
In Britain, Mr Posh Spice failed to even make the top spot in searched for men, pop crooner Gareth Gates taking that mantle.
But, with Beckham's stock growing, the drawn-out debate over image rights in his new contract makes increasing sense.
The fact that he played short of his potential in the World Cup makes no difference.
And Manchester United should be delighted with the bargain £20,000 they pay out a week to Beckham for control of his image rights.
The only person worried about his growing popularity, it would seem, is the man himself.
Beckham said recently: "It's unfortunate that your private life and increased interest in it comes into the game.
"Because at the end of the day all I've wanted to do is play football all my life. But you cope with it."
The bizarre unveiling of a chocolate statue of Beckham in Tokyo on Monday shows that there are few signs of his global roadshow dwindling.
Move over Eminem et al in 2003.