LONDON: David Beckham – ex-England captain, Olympic ambassador and fashion leader – is retiring at the end of the season.
The 38-year-old is England’s most-capped outfield player and goes out at the top after having succeeded even as a bit-part player in his five-month stint with Paris Saint-Germain; that brought him a league title in a fourth different country.
Beckham joined Manchester United as a 14-year-old and made 398 appearances, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League.
He said: “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 has won 19 major trophies – 10 of them league titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and PSG – in a playing career spanning 20 years.
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 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.”
Beckham moved to Real Madrid in 2003, winning La Liga with them in 2007 before a switch to the United States with LA Galaxy.
The midfielder made his England debut against Moldova in 1996 and captained the side from 2000 to 2006, making his 115th and final England appearance in a 3-0 win over Belarus in 2009.
The most memorable national team moments ranged from the qualifying free kick against Greece to the red card in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina.
He added: “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.”
He has two more games to go before the end of the French season. On Saturday PSG are at home to Brest and on May 26 they end term away to Lorient.