Thursday, May 16, 2013


End of an era: Sportsmail understands that David Beckham will retire from football

Over one week after Sir Alex Ferguson announced his retirement from football management, his former player, Mega star footballer and former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham has retired from football, bringing an end to a glittering career on the field.

Since his debut at the old trafford two decades ago, the 38-year-old has emerged as arguably the most iconic sportsman of his generation, captaining England, collecting 115 caps, and celebrated as a champion in four different countries - the only British footballer in history to do so.

Despite the offer of an extended one-year deal at Paris Saint-German, the 38-year-old has played his last game, bowing out on a high after helping Carlo Ancelotti's side win the French title for the first time in 19 years.

Fond farewell: Beckham soaked up the applause in Paris earlier this week during PSG's open-top bus title parade
Beckham, who announced his decision had this to say,'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.'

'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.'
Revenge: Beckham put four years of personal anguish behind him as his penalty sunk Argentina at the Sapporo during the group stage at the 2002 World Cupg

Beckham, who holds the England record for making 115 appearances as an outfield player for the national team said his greatest achievement was with the Three Lions.
Bend it like Beckham: Arguably his finest moment in an England shirt, captain Beckham scored this priceless last-minute free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford to send England to the 2002 World Cup

'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.

National hero: Beckham was adored by the nation and rightly celebrated after his wondrous display in October 2001
'I'm honored 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.'

He said: '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.

Sealed with a kiss: Beckham toasts Manchester United's Premier league triumph in 1999

'I'm fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it's my time to give back.'

The trailblazing midfielder -  who played for some of the biggest clubs in the world such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan, as well as Los Angeles Galaxy - is now set to continue his ambassadorial duties with a variety of organisations, which include Sky Sports, adidas, Unicef and promoting football in China.

Beckham's last game of football will be on the synthetic pitch at Lorient's 18,110-capacity Stade du Moustoir, with the last home match of his career this Saturday against Brest at Parc des Princes.

The former England skipper also gave Kudos to his family, his wife, former Pop star, Victoria and his children for supporting him at all times 

'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,' he added.

Family man: Beckham, won the BBC Sports Personality of the years Lifetime Achievement award in 2010, thanks his family for their support
'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.'

His vast fortune of an estimated £165million comfortably makes him the richest athlete ever in British sport, with a host of lucrative sponsorship deals and salary payments over the last decade amassing his wealth.

Born in Leytonstone, Beckham started out with Ridgeway Rovers before being singled out by Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton at a Soccer School in Barcelona.

At 14, he signed schoolboy terms at Old Trafford and joined the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt in United's famous youth class of 1992, going on to make his first-team debut against Brighton in the League Cup that same year.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson sent him out on loan to Preston North End to gain first-team experience, before returning to make his Premier League debut for United in the draw with Leeds in April 1995.

Goal of the season: Beckham scored a stunning 57-yard strike on the opening day of the season against Wimbledon in 1996
His deadball ability became apparent at Deepdale, and of the two goals he scored in five appearances, one was direct from a corner.

Back at United, Beckham played a key role in a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first full season, the most notable achievement of which was the winner in the semi-final against Chelsea.

National service: Beckham skips past Serghei Nani on his England debut against Moldova in 1997
He missed the cut for Euro 1996 but was promoted to United's No 10 - he took No 7 a year later -after Mark Hughes left, and he celebrated with arguably his most famous moment, the stunning halfway line goal against Wimbledon.

Beckham was the first English player to score at three consecutive World Cup finals and has the joint-second most goal assists in European Championship finals history.

All smiles: Moments after announcing his retirement, Beckham greeted PSG staff as he left the club's Camps of Loges training ground
In March 2013, he became the first sportsman from outside of China to be invited to become the ambassador for the sport in the country 

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