Thursday 16 May 2013
Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has announced that he will be retiring from football at the end of the season.
The 38-year-old has just won Ligue 1 with Paris St Germain to become the first Englishman to secure titles in four different countries and says he wants to bow out "playing at the highest level".
"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.
"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 realised those dreams."
"Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love"
Beckham was part of United's FA Youth Cup-winning side of 1992 and made his Barclays Premier League debut when coming on as a half-time substitute in the 3-1 defeat by Aston Villa in the first fixture of the 1995/96 season.
He soon became an important part of Sir Alex Ferguson's side and during his time in England, Beckham won six Barclays Premier League titles, two FA Cups as well as the UEFA Champions League in 1999.
Famed for his crossing ability and his deadly free-kicks, Beckham scored many memorable goals including one against Wimbledon in 1996 from the halfway line.
The goal was named as the Best Goal in Premier League 10 Seasons Awards, which marked the first decade of the competition in 2002, while it also made the shortlist for last year's 20 Seasons Awards. Beckham was also named in the 10 Seasons Awards Team of the Decade.
He made 265 League appearances for United before leaving for Real Madrid in 2003 where he won the La Liga title in 2007. He moved to the United States, where he won two Major Soccer League titles with Los Angeles Galaxy, and after two loan spells in Italy, he signed for PSG in January this year.
"I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed"
Beckham, who won 115 caps for England, will play his final match against Lorient on 26 May.
"I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family," he said. "I'm grateful for my parents' sacrifice, which made me realise my dreams.
"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.
"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."