David Beckham has announced he will retire at the end of the season, bringing one of the most illustrious and incredible careers in the history of football to an end. Beckham has spent over two decades at the top of the game, and while the English international was expected to sign a new one-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain, he will join fellow member of the famous class of ’92 Paul Scholes and manager Sir Alex Ferguson as another Manchester United and football legend to retire at the end of the season.
The midfielder recently won the French Ligue 1 with current club PSG, making him the only Englishman ever to have won league championships in four different countries, having won the Premier League, La Liga, and MLS with Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Los Angeles Galaxy, respectively. Although some argue that Beckham’s fame has outstripped his actual playing ability, one cannot deny how talented the 38-year-old is, and has been over his career.
Beckham has won 19 major trophies, including one UEFA Champions League, during an amazing career that spanned over 20 years. Although stats will give you an idea on how Beckham and his right foot have made their mark upon the footballing world, one must look at the player’s work ethic and determination to realize what he has achieved during his career. The 38-year old has the joint-second most assists ever in the European Championships, and was the first Englishman to score at three World Cups.
Although having retired from international duty in 2006, Beckham is England’s most capped outfield player having made 115 appearances for England during his 10-year international career. The right midfielder captained the England national side for six years, after being named captain in 2000, four years after making his international debut in 1996 against Moldova. Beckham’s finest moment for The Three Lions came in England’s final 2002 World Cup qualifier against Greece, when he almost single-handedly delivered victory, scoring a stunning injury time free-kick to seal The Three Lions a spot in the 2002 World Cup. Beckham captained England until 2006, when he announced his international retirement after the 2006 World Cup.
“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 said in a statement released on Thursday.
“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.
“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.”
After rising through the ranks at Manchester United, the club he supported as a boy, Beckham made his senior debut for The Red Devils as part of the now legendary class of ’92. He won his first of six Premiership titles with Sir Alex Ferguson in the 1995/96 season, and in the first match of the 1996/97 season Beckham became a global star, after scoring a goal against Wimbledon from the halfway line:
Beckham was part of the United side that famously won the treble in the 1998/99 season, but after a falling out with Ferguson back in Manchester, Beckham left the Red Devils in 2003 for Real Madrid. He left United having the third highest number of assists in the EPL, managing 152 assists for United in just 265 appearances. During his four year spell at Madrid, Beckham won the Spanish Super Cup as well as La Liga. The Englishman was persuaded to move to the USA in 2007 to Los Angeles Galaxy on a lucrative contract worth $600 million, shocking the footballing world. Beckham won the MLS Cup in 2011, and also served in two successful loan spells at AC Milan. The 38-year-old left the Galaxy at the end of the 2011/12 season, and after a small break from football, joined French club Paris Saint-Germain in January 2013 on a six-month contract.
The midfielder has two games left with Saint-Germain, and his final match will be against Lorient on May 26.