Soccer star David Beckham has finally achieved stardom in America - he's to be the first British sportsman to appear on the cover of US fashion bible Vanity Fair.

The Real Madrid player will be snapped by acclaimed photographer Annie LEIBOWITZ for July (04) cover shoot - which will place him amongst the likes of superstars Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and George Clooney.

But, more importantly, it will increase his profile stateside - where he already adorns billboards advertising POLICE sunglasses and a film dedicated to him, Bend It Like Beckham, has been a box office hit.

Last summer (03) Beckham and his former SPICE GIRL wife VICTORIA failed to capture the attention of the American media while Victoria was modelling for Damon Dash's ROCAWEAR fashion line - but since then the star has wowed Spanish football fans and stunned the world with allegations of infidelity with his former assistant Rebecca Loos.

A source at Vanity Fair says, "You know you've cracked America when you get on the cover of Vanity Fair. David Beckham should feel honoured. The theme of the shoot is to show how David is a true icon."

14/05/2004 13:36