Soccer

Beckham hangs up his boots

2013-05-16 16:33
David Beckham (AFP)
London - Former England captain, David Beckham has announced that he is to retire from professional football at the end of this season.

Sources in Paris claim that Beckham turned down an offer of an extended one-year deal at Paris Saint-German after helping Carlo Ancelotti's side win the French title for the first time in 19 years, which means he has played his last professional match and has bowed out on a high.

"I'm thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level," said Beckham, confirming his retirement.

Born in Leytonstone, London, Beckham started out with Ridgeway Rovers before being singled out by Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton at a Soccer School in Barcelona.

Beckham rose to stardom in 1992, making his debut for United at the age 17 and has gone on to become arguably the most iconic sportsman of his generation.

He is the only British player to have won league titles in four different countries.

Beckham will be most fondly remembered for his time spent at United, a club he played for 394 times, scoring 85 goals. He was part of the historic team who claimed the treble in 1999 when United claimed the English Premiership, FA Cup and European Cup in the same season.

"If you had told me as a young boy I would have played for and won trophies with my boyhood club Manchester United, proudly captained and played for my country over one hundred times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy. I'm fortunate to have realized those dreams," Beckham said.

On the international stage, Beckham holds the England record for making 115 appearances as an outfield player for the national team, captaining the side on 58 occasions.
"To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country," Beckham said.

"I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country.

"I'm honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch ... I want to thank all my team-mates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from. I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed."

He left Manchester United at the end of the 2002/2003 season, joining Real Madrid. He played 115 matches for the Galacticos, netting 20 goals in the process.

Beckham then made even more headlines in 2007 when he decided to leave Europe and pursue a career in the United States of America, where he signed for LA Galaxy, scoring 20 goals in 118 games for the MLS outfit, helping them to two MLS titles in his time there.

Beckham also spent two loan spells at Italian giants, AC Milan, first in 2008 and again at the end of 2009.

He joined PSG at the beginning of this year, making 11 appearances for the newly crowned Ligue 1 champions.

Beckham is now set to continue his ambassadorial duties with a variety of organisations, which include Sky Sports, Adidas, Unicef and promoting football in China.

Having relocated from LA in January, Beckham is expected to set up a permanent base in London with his wife Victoria and children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.

"I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family. I'm grateful for my parents' sacrifice, which made me realize my dreams. I owe everything to Victoria and the kids, who have given me the inspiration and support to play at the highest level for such a long period. I also want to thank Simon Fuller and his team for their continued support.

"I want to thank all my teammates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from. I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed.

He is reported to amass a fortune of an estimated £165million comfortably makes him the highest earning British athlete in British sport.

"Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I'm starting a new adventure and I'm genuinely excited about what lies ahead. I'm fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it's my time to give back," he concluded.

Read more on:    david beckham  |  soccer
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