FILE: SOCCER/FOOTBALL: World soccer player David Beckham to retire at the end of the season
- Title: FILE: SOCCER/FOOTBALL: World soccer player David Beckham to retire at the end of the season
- Date: 16th May 2013
- Summary: BARCELONA, SPAIN (MAY 25, 1999) (REUTERS) MANCHESTER UNITED LOGO ON BOARD, PULLBACK TO TEAM TRAINING BECKHAM TRAINING MANCHESTER COACH ALEX FERGUSON IN OLD MANCHESTER SHIRT BARCELONA, SPAIN (MAY 26, 1999) (REUTERS) BECKHAM WALKING WITH EUROPEAN CUP BECKHAM TALKING TO PRESS LONDON, UK (AUGUST 15, 2000) (REUTERS) BECKHAM AND WIFE VICTORIA POSE FOR CAMERAS
- Reuters ID: LVA3NWPRBY0NQO5U50O0MFDON7MW
- Location: Spain, Usa, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Duration: 00:00:38
- Topics: Sports
- Story Text: England's best known footballer David Beckham announced his retirement on Thursday (May 16) 1after a career laden with trophies and glamour that had a worldwide impact that went way beyond soccer.
The 38-year-old former England captain, who this month helped Paris St Germain to the French league title to add to titles won in England, Spain and the United States, will hang up his boots at the end of this 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 midfielder said in a statement.
"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."
Beckham earned 115 caps for England, a record for an outfield player, and won the Champions League, six Premier League titles and two FA Cups with Manchester United.
He also won league titles with Real Madrid in Spain, LA Galaxy in the United States and PSG in France.
The London-born Beckham started his career at Manchester United, the club he supported as a boy, making his first team appearance at the age of 17 in 1992.
His trade-mark free kicks and pin-point crosses established him as a key player, while his good looks made him a pin-up for teenage girls and later his marriage to former Spice Girls band member Victoria Adams established him as an off-field celebrity.
While his commercial appeal kept growing and his friendships with Hollywood A listers grew, his main passion of soccer - and in particular England - held firm.
"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 honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch.
"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," said Beckham.
After a decade at Old Trafford, where he won six Premier League titles, he left for a four-year spell at Real Madrid where he won La Liga in his final season.
He then crossed the Atlantic in 2007 to become the biggest name soccer import in the United States, joining LA Galaxy with a mission to raise the profile of the sport in the country.
He won the MLS championship twice with the Galaxy before moving to Paris in January for what turned out to be his last hurrah.
There he demonstrated one of his other sides as his salary was paid to a children's charity in the French capital.
Away from soccer, underwear modelling and ambassadorial roles, Beckham is known as a family man and thanked those closest to him for what they had done for him.
"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 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."
FACTBOX 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 Voilï¿½" (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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