David Beckham Retires From Soccer, Ending Storied Career

David Beckham, who starred for Manchester United, Real Madrid, and England’s national team before heading to the United States, is retiring. The news was confirmed by England’s Football Association Thursday.

The midfielder who played his first game for Manchester United in 1992 eventually rose to become captain of England’s international team for more than 50 games, including several World Cup tournaments. He appeared in 115 matches for the squad.

The site of the English national squad posted these comments from Beckham, on his retirement:

“I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level.

“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.

“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.”

As he rose to international fame, Beckham also became a style icon and gained fame for his deadly ability to beat goaltenders on free kicks, a talent that even inspired a film, Bend It Like Beckham.

“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,” reports The Daily Mail.

Before this season, Beckham spent six years with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer, where he helped boost interest in the league. The team won two championships in Beckham’s final two seasons with the squad.

Prior to this season, Beckham returned to Europe with his wife, Victoria, and their children.

“We’re never going to replace David Beckham,” Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena told The Los Angeles Times this week. “David Beckham is a global personality, and he was tremendous for our franchise, tremendous for the league.”

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