David Beckham is to retire from football at the end of this season after an illustrious 20-year career. The former England captain made 115 appearances for his country and 394 for Manchester United, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League.
Beckham, 38, signed a five-month deal at Paris St-Germain in January which has two more games before the end of the season, at home against Brest on Saturday and away to Lorient on 26 May.
“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.
Beckham, who donates his salary with the newly crowned French champions to charity, has made 13 appearances since moving to Paris. The Leytonstone-born midfielder has played for United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG, lifting 19 trophies including 10 league titles.
Beckham is the only English player to win championships in four countries. He was also the first English player to score at three consecutive World Cup finals and has the joint-second most goal assists in European Championship finals history. He played a significant role in the successful bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London and in March of this year became the first sportsman from outside of China to be invited to become the ambassador for the sport in the country.
“Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love,” said Beckham. “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.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron commended Beckham describing him as having been an outstanding footballer throughout his career and also “a brilliant ambassador” for his country.
In his statement, Beckham expressed his love for football and gave gratitude to his family for their support throughout his career.
“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… I’m fortunate to have realised those dreams.
“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… I want people to see me as a hardworking footballer – someone who, when he steps on the pitch, he gives everything he’s got. When I look back on my career that is how I look back on it and that is how I hope people have seen me.”
“I wouldn’t have achieved what I have done today without my family. I’m grateful for my parents’ sacrifice, which made me realise 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.”