David Beckham retiring from professional football | inside World Soccer

David Beckham announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday after a career that made him probably the most famous sportsman on the planet.

Bye Bye Becks! Ex-England captain David Beckham quits football after 20 years
Bye Bye Becks! Ex-England captain David Beckham quits football after 20 years

Photo: Getty Images

The 38-year-old, who last week won France's Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, has turned down a one-year extension and decided to bow out.

His last match as a professional footballer will be in front of fewer than 18,000 fans when PSG visit Lorient on May 26.

"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," Beckham said in a statement on his Facebook page.

"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.

"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'm honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch.

"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. I also want to thank Simon Fuller and his team for their continued support.

"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."

David Beckham won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999
David Beckham won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999

Photo: Getty Images

Beckham started his career with United and went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League in 1999.

In the summer of 2003, Becks left Old Trafford in favour of a move to Real Madrid, with whom he won La Liga in his final season.

The London-born player then made a surprise move to the USA and played for MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy for five seasons. He also spent two loan periods with AC Milan during that period.

Beckham, whose curling free kicks became his signature as a player, is the only Englishman to win domestic titles in four different countries.

On the international stage, Beckham made 115 appearances for the Three Lions - a record for a player other than a goalkeeper.

Beckham will then concentrate on his ambassador roles, which include working for UNICEF and promoting football in China.


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