David Beckham announces retirement from football
Former England captain David Beckham announces retirement
Former England captain David Beckham, a league winner with Paris Saint-Germain just last week, has announced he is retiring from football at the end of the season.
The 38-year-old only joined PSG in January after the expiration of his contract with LA Galaxy, but has taken the decision not to extend his stay at the Parc des Princes beyond the terms of his current short-term deal.
Beckham had been offered the opportunity to sign a further one-year deal with PSG, who claimed a first Ligue 1 crown since 1994 last weekend, but the midfield veteran has opted to end his playing days.
"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 in a statement.
"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 realized 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 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."
The ex-England winger has enjoyed a long and distinguished career, which began as a schoolboy with Manchester United, before he progressed through the ranks alongside fellow Fergie Fledglings Gary Neville and Paul Scholes.
Beckham established himself as one of the finest players at the disposal of Ferguson as Manchester United claimed an historic Treble in 1999, before his abilities were recognised by his country with the England captaincy a year later.
He left United after his relationship with Ferguson soured - joining Real Madrid and their esteemed side of Galacticos for a fee in the region of £25 million during the summer transfer window of 2003.
Beckham won the league title with Madrid in his final season at the Santiago Bernabeu, before announcing a move to MLS side LA Galaxy following the expiration of his contract with Los Blancos.
Despite his move to the USA and his decision to relinquish the England captaincy, Beckham continued to play a role for his country - and a even spent two loan spells with AC Milan in a bid to prolong his international career.
Beckham became England's most capped outfield player when he surpassed Bobby Moore's record of 108 appearances during a friendly with Spain and, although never officially announcing an international retirement, his career was effectively ended on 115.
It appeared as though he would have the chance for an international swansong with Team GB in the London Olympics of 2012 but, despite his provisional inclusion in Stuart Pearce's squad, was not selected to compete that summer.
Following the disappointment of his Olympics omission, Beckham wrapped up a second successive MLS Cup with the Galaxy, before he was announced as a PSG player, despite interest from the Premier League.
Beckham will now reportedly set up in London following his departure from PSG, deciding to spend more time with his young family and focus attention on various ambassadorial duties.
Over the course of his career, Beckham has amassed a fortune of around £165 million - making him the most lucrative British athlete ever, and one of the top earning athletes of all time.