LONDON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- British researchers have determined British soccer star David Beckham has achieved the same level of mass popularity as the late Princess Diana.
Among tabloid newspaper accounts and academic research, Beckham has been described as a "Joan of Arc figure", as embodying "manly sainthood" and as "in a state of grace," The Daily News reported.
University of Warwick researcher Dr. Andrew Parker said like Diana, Beckham is constantly in the glare of the media, and noted as with Diana, the "language of the sacred" had been attached to Beckham.
Parker's research team said both Beckham and Diana won the hearts of the nation by showing an "unexpected humility" and by recognizing the value of other people over and above themselves.
"Beckham's status arises from his ability to simultaneously represent conflicting qualities, including popular masculinity, sporting excellence, colossal economic capital, physical glamour and emotions," Parker said.