David Beckham to hang up his boots at the end of the season
David Beckham, footballer, businessman, model, style icon, celebrity and ambassador will become David Beckham, ex-footballer... at the end of the season.
Beckham, 38, announced his decision today (Thursday 16 May) having turned down the offer of a one year extension to his contract at French club Paris St-Germain (PSG).
"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," he said.
PSG are this season's French champions, providing Beckham with his 19th career trophy and 10th league title. Beckham signed for the wealthy Paris club after leaving US team L.A. Galaxy in January.
David Beckham made his Manchester United first team debut in 1993 and Premier League debut in 1995 having graduated from the ranks of the youth academy which also produced Ryan Giggs, then later Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.
A gifted midfielder with a formidable right foot that provided countless goal making crosses and passes, he went on to make his England debut in 1996 in a sparkling 20 year career.
At the 1998 World Cup, he was notoriously sent off for a petulant kick at Diego Simeone in the match against Argentina which England went on to lose on penalties. Beckham suffered some abuse for the incident from opposition fans during the following season, but his talent shone through for both United and England, his reputation grew and his star ascended to international fame, aided by marrying Spice Girl, Victoria.
He went on to captain England, an honour he described in today's retirement statement:
"To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country. 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,"
Beckham left Man United in 2003 joining the 'Galacticos' - a group of superstar players that included Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos - assembled at Real Madrid. He joined L.A. Galaxy in 2007, a boost for US professional soccer which was aiming to re-establish itself in a country rooted to its dominant American football, baseball and basketball leagues.
After two loans spells at AC Milan, Beckham considered offers from the Premier League before opting for PSG where he will now end his career after the season's final two games.
Beckham played his last game for England in 2009 having surpassed Bobby Moore's record number of caps for an outfield player earlier that year and ultimately reached a total of 115, scoring 17 goals. He was disappointed not to play in the 2010 World Cup after injury ruled him out but travelled with Fabio Capello's squad as a member of the back-room staff.
"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 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy," he said today.
"I'm fortunate to have realised those dreams."