David Beckham retires from football

Beckham,whose soccer skills and star wife made him a celebrity,has two more matches left at PSG.

Written by Associated Press | London | Published: May 16, 2013 8:45:40 pm

David Beckham has retired from football,ending a career in which he became a global superstar who transcended the sport.

The 38-year-old Beckham,who recently won a league title in a fourth country with Paris Saint-Germain,said Thursday he will retire at the end of the season.

”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,” the former England captain said in a statement.

Beckham,whose forays into fashion and marriage to a pop star wife have made him a riveting international celebrity,has two more matches left at PSG against Brest on Saturday and at Lorient on May 26. He has been giving his salary to a children’s charity.

Beckham started his career with Manchester United and also played for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy,winning titles with all those clubs.

”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,” Beckham said. ”I’m fortunate to have realized those dreams.”

On the international stage,Beckham holds the England record for making 115 appearances as an outfield player for the national team.

”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 honored to represent England both on and off the pitch.”

Beckham is now living in London with his wife Victoria,a former ”Spice Girls” singer,and their four children.

”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,” he said. ”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.”

With United between 1992 and 2003,Beckham won six Premier League titles,the Champions League,two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.

Beckham left United in 2003 shortly after manager Alex Ferguson accidentally struck Beckham’s eye with a football boot. Ferguson announced his retirement from Manchester United last week.

Beckham spent four years in Madrid – winning the 2007 Spanish title before making the surprise move to Major League Soccer,where he won the title twice.

There were highs and lows in Beckham’s international career. He was blamed for England’s elimination from the 1998 World Cup for his petulant red card against Argentina,but scored the winning goal against the same team at the World Cup four years later.

Beckham responded to jeering at the 2000 European Championship with an obscene hand gesture to England fans,but was lauded by the same supporters little more than a year later when his last-minute free kick against Greece secured a place at the 2002 World Cup.

England dropped Beckham in August 2006 in an effort to renew the team with younger players after a quarterfinal exit at that year’s World Cup. England coach Steve McClaren recalled him the following year after a poor run of form,and he returned for the remainder of England’s unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 2008 European Championship.

His last England appearance came against Belarus in October 2009,and he missed the 2010 World Cup because of an Achilles injury. He still went to South Africa as part of Fabio Capello’s backroom staff.

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

Beckham had already started planning for his post-playing career earlier in the season,becoming an ambassador for Chinese football.

”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,” Beckham said. ”I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.”

Beckham played a key role in England’s unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup ahead of the 2010 vote,and the English Football Association wants to utilize his influence and star power in the future.

”He is an iconic figure in the game and produced wonderful performances for his clubs,particularly Manchester United,” FA chairman David Bernstein said. ”When you look at his playing and work for England,no one would ever accuse him of being unpatriotic and not giving everything for his country.

”He is a real loss to the game and I am sure the FA will want to embrace him and to get him closely associated with the organization.”

Beckham’s retirement comes a week after the 71-year-old Ferguson ended his managerial career.

”In the week following Sir Alex Ferguson retiring,which came as a bit of a shock,now we have the iconic David Beckham coming out of the game,” Bernstein said. ”It’s unexpected even though he is getting to mature years for a footballer.”

FACTBOX

Here is a look at the life and career of former England captain David Beckham who announced his retirement on Thursday.

EARLY LIFE

– Beckham was born on May 2,1975 in London. He joined Manchester United as a 16-year-old trainee in 1991. By 1995 he became a regular during the club’s most successful era.

– They won the Premier League and FA Cup double during his first full season. During the 1996/97 campaign he scored from the halfway line in an opening day victory over Wimbledon.

– In 1999 the team went one further,winning the Premier League,FA Cup and Champions League treble.

ENGLAND CAREER

– Beckham made his England debut on Sept. 1,1996 in a World Cup qualifier against Moldova. Two years later he scored in the finals against Colombia but went home from France in disgrace after being sent off for kicking out at Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone in a last-16 defeat.

– In England,Beckham was widely blamed for the defeat and slammed by the tabloid newspapers.

– Beckham captained England on the first of 58 occasions against Italy in a friendly in November 2000 and the next year booked them a place in the 2002 World Cup finals with a stunning injury-time free kick,salvaging a 2-2 draw against Greece. England were knocked out by Brazil in the quarter-finals.

– In 2006,he resigned as England captain after his side lost in the World Cup quarter-finals to Portugal,who knocked them out at the same stage of Euro 2004.

– Beckham returned to the team a year later and earned 115 caps,an England outfield record. His last international appearance was against Belarus at Wembley in October 2009.

– Beckham missed playing for England at the 2010 World Cup after he ruptured his Achilles tendon while on loan at AC Milan in March. Manager Fabio Capello asked him to accompany the team in an advisory role and announced that he would not be picked for England’s attempt to qualify for Euro 2012.

NEW CLUBS

– Beckham signed for Real Madrid from United for 25 million pounds ($41 million) in 2003 and after the Spanish club went three seasons without a major trophy,the team won the league title in 2007.

– He joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in July 2007 in a mega-money deal in a bid to promote soccer in the United States.

– Beckham won a second successive Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup at the end of 2012 and went back to Europe where he trained with Arsenal,although club manager Arsene Wenger said they were not interested in signing him.

NEW ROLE:

– In March,China named Beckham as its first global soccer ambassador to revive the game’s image there. Soccer in China was hit by a match-fixing scandal and an exodus of international stalwarts from the country’s premier league. In his new role,Beckham,would be expected to help bring Chinese Super League (CSL) to the world stage and promote the game in the world’s most populous country.

PARIS ST GERMAIN:

– After rumours in 2011 that Beckham was joining PSG – sports daily L’Equipe ran a front page saying “Le Voilà!” (Here he comes!),- he finally joined the Parisian club in January 2013 on a five-month deal. Beckham also announces his salary at PSG will be donated to a children’s charity in Paris.

– Beckham enjoyed a promising French league debut for PSG in February,enjoying warm crowd support in a late cameo during the 2-0 home victory over Olympique Marseille.

– Last month he picked up a straight red card as Paris St Germain continued their march towards a first French league title. They finally won that first championship in 19 years last Sunday with a 1-0 win at Olympique Lyon – with Beckham coming on in added time.

– He becomes first English player to win league titles in four different countries – Manchester United (England),Real Madrid (Spain),LA Galaxy (U.S) and PSG (France).

OFF THE PITCH

– Beckham met Victoria Adams in the mid-1990s when she was a member of pop group the Spice Girls. The perfect media match-up,the couple were instantly catapulted into the limelight.

– Beckham and Adams married in July 1999,a few months after their first son Brooklyn was born. They have three other children.

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