David Beckham retires from football


Farewell: Sportsmail exclusively revealed that David Beckham is bringing the curtain down on a glittering career that has spanned two decadesDavid Beckham has retired from football at the age of 38, bringing the curtain down on a glittering career, Sportsmail exclusively revealed today.

The former England captain, nicknamed Goldenballs, will hang up his boots after another trophy-laden season, this time winning the French league title with Paris St Germain.

Beckham, who has been commuting from London, has decided to bow out at the top of his game and will now be able to devote more time to wife Victoria and their four children, the youngest of whom is Harper, aged just 21 months.

Following the Mail’s revelation, Beckham said in a statement: ‘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 footballer has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG during a career that has spanned more than two decades.

He added: ‘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.’

Beckham, who has an estimated £165million fortune, made his debut for Manchester United in 1992, winning six league titles and the Champions League before moving to Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy, plus loan spells at AC Milan.

He made his England debut in 1996 and would go on to be the Three Lions’ most capped outfield player with 115 appearances. He was the first English player to score in three consecutive World Cup finals tournaments.

Beckham said: ‘To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country.

BECKHAM’S CAREER BY NUMBERS

Manchester United – 394 games, 85 goals

Real Madrid – 115 games 20 goals

LA Galaxy – 118 games 20 goals

AC Milan – 33 games goals 2

PSG – 11 games 0 goals

‘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.’

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.

The trailblazing midfielder is now set to continue his ambassadorial duties with a variety of organisations, which include Sky Sports, adidas, Unicef and promoting football in China.

Having relocated from LA in January, Beckham is expected to set up a permanent base in London with his wife Victoria and children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.

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.

Family man: Beckham at the airport with his four children Romeo, Cruz, Harper and Brooklyn and wife Victoria

Family man: Beckham at the airport with his four children Romeo, Cruz, Harper and Brooklyn and wife Victoria

Beckham won the Primera Division title in his final season in Spain and the US Major League Soccer championship twice.

He added: ‘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.’

Beckham has this year become an ambassador for the sport in China.

‘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,’ said Beckham.

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

Beckham has two final games before the end of the season, the last home match of his career being this Saturday against Brest at Parc des Princes.

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