The 29-year-old Real Madrid midfielder will be featured in Gillette's worldwide consumer advertising and promotional campaigns for its grooming products, company officials said on Thursday.

The Gillette Company did not reveal financial terms, but spokeswoman Michelle Szynal said it was nowhere near the $70 million that had been rumoured in London.

"He's a real guy's guy," she said of Beckham. "He's the epitome of a well-groomed guy, but also a sports legend.

Ads of Beckham using the razors will appear in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and on TV, in a campaign starting in July in Europe and later in the United States.

Beckham, who played in Spain for Real Madrid last season after winning several English Premier League titles with Manchester United, is one of the most recognisable football stars in the world.

Schoolgirl frenzy

He was mobbed by schoolgirls during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

Despite the fact that football is not so big in the United States as in the rest of the world, Szynal said Beckham's celebrity and global appeal was a key factor.

Americans who know nothing about football, know his name from the recent hit movie "Bend it Like Beckham," she added.

But Beckham is not the first football star to become an advertising icon in America.

A huge billboard of Freddie Ljungberg, who stars for English champions Arsenal, recently loomed over New York's Times Square, featuring the Swedish midfielder in nothing more than a pair of Calvin Klein briefs.

After captaining England in the European Championships in Portugal next month, Beckham will join his club, Real Madrid, on a tour of North America.

Coincidentally, one of its matches is scheduled for Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.