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David Beckham has announced he will retire from football at the end of this season at the age of 38 after an illustrious 20-year career.
The former England captain made 115 appearances for his country and 394 for Manchester United, winning six Premier League titles and the Champions League.
David Beckham signed a five-month deal at Paris St-Germain (PSG) in January.
“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.
PSG have two more games before the end of the season, at home against Brest on Saturday and away to Lorient on May 26.
David Beckham, who donates his salary with the newly crowned French champions to charity, has made 13 appearances since moving to Paris.
The Leytonstone-born midfielder has played for United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG, lifting 19 trophies including 10 league titles.
He is the only English player to win championships in four countries.
“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,” he said.
“I’m fortunate to have realized those dreams.”
David Beckham has announced he will retire from football at the end of this season at the age of 38 after an illustrious 20-year career
David Beckham joined United as a trainee in 1991, making his first-team debut the following year and signing his first professional contract in 1993.
He became one of the world’s most high-profile sportsmen during his time at Old Trafford – and a global celebrity following his marriage to Victoria Adams of pop group the Spice Girls in 1999.
Then came a move to Real Madrid in 2003 with whom David Beckham clinched La Liga in 2007 before switching to the United States with LA Galaxy.
He was loaned to AC Milan during the MLS off-season in 2009 and 2010, and his stay in the US ended when he signed for PSG.
David Beckham made his England debut against Moldova in 1996 and captained the side from 2000 to 2006, making his 115th and final England appearance in a 3-0 win over Belarus in 2009.
“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,” he said.
“I want people to see me as a hardworking footballer – someone who, when he steps on the pitch, he gives everything he’s got. When I look back on my career that is how I look back on it and that is how I hope people have seen me.”
David 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.
He played a significant role in the successful bid to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London and in March of this year became the first sportsman from outside of China to be invited to become the ambassador for the sport in the country.
“Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love,” added David Beckham.
“However, I feel like I’m starting a new adventure and I’m genuinely excited about what lies ahead.
“I’m fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it’s my time to give back.”
British PM David Cameron said: “David Beckham has been an outstanding footballer throughout his career.
“Not only that – he has been a brilliant ambassador for this country, not least if we remember all the work he did in helping us win London 2012.”
England manager Roy Hodgson added: “He’s had a glittering career, iconic status, and I wish him well in the future.”
David Beckham concluded his statement by thanking his family.
“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 said.
“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.”
David Beckham was left embarrassed as he slipped over and landed on his backside in front of a group of young Chinese footballers while demonstrating his free kick technique.
David Beckham, 37, dropped to the ground during his Far East tour as part of his five-day ambassadorial visit to China.
The football superstar was dressed in a luxury grey suit and black shoes as he lined up to swing in a free-kick in front of starstruck players from Wuhan Zall club in the Hubei province.
But it all went horribly wrong when the Paris St Germain midfielder lost his balance and ended up flat on his back – although he appeared to take the fall in good spirits.
As David Beckham ran up to curve a ball into the top corner of the goal he took a terrible fall and slipped up into the air before crashing into the ground.
David Beckham slipped over and landed on his backside in front of a group of young Chinese footballers while demonstrating his free kick technique
Meanwhile, the former England captain has vowed to promote football in China over a long period of time, and make it one of the most popular leagues in the world.
“Thank you for having me in your wonderful city,” wrote David Beckham on Friday after being mobbed upon his arrival in Qingdao.
David Beckham, who has played four games for new side Paris Saint-Germain and completed his first 90 minutes last week before the international break, said: “I want people to realize this is not a short-term project.
“It is something that we are very passionate about changing the mentality of the league and bringing youngsters through and making this league as popular as some of the big leagues in the world.”
David Beckham continued: “I’ve always been a fan of Chinese football because I think the players are very talented and they are very passionate.
“When you see the excitement throughout this country when the team has done well you see how important it is to people. I am excited to make a difference.”
David Beckham has arrived in Beijing to begin his new role as a special ambassador for Chinese football.
David Beckham’s new role will involve attending league matches in China and visiting clubs to help promote football to children.
His appointment, announced earlier this month, comes as Chinese football works to recover from a match-fixing scandal that saw dozens of top officials, players and referees jailed or banned.
David Beckham, 37, will combine the role with playing for Paris St-Germain.
“I am helping in the education for young kids and young aspiring footballers,” the footballer said in a press conference.
“It’s as simple as that. I am not here to clear up anything. I am here to educate the children and give them a chance of becoming professional footballers.”
In a nation of 1.3 billion people some estimates suggest that fewer than 100,000 youths play any form of organized football.
In terms of television viewers China has plenty of fans, but many prefer to watch foreign games over the tarnished domestic league.
David Beckham’s new role will involve attending league matches in China and visiting clubs to help promote football to children
In February, China’s football association banned 33 players and officials for life after a three-year probe into match-fixing.
Two ex-heads of the Chinese football league were also jailed in June 2012 for corruption, four months after the country’s top referee, Lu Jun, was imprisoned for taking money to influence games.
The Chinese national team has also failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
David Beckham’s four-day visit will include training sessions with primary schoolchildren and visits to football clubs in Beijing, Qingdao and Wuhan.
David Beckham, one of the most globally recognized names in football, has won a league championship at all three of the clubs he has played for on a permanent basis – Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy.
David Beckham has revealed he will be donating the entire salary from his new contract with Paris St Germain (PSG) to a children’s charity in Paris.
In what is believed to be a world first, David Beckham, 37, will be donating around $5 million to the cause – if reports of his $250,000-a-week salary are correct.
Confirming his new role at a press conference in Paris on Thursday, David Beckham explained the philanthropic move, saying: “For me it’s always been about playing football, I considered other offers on the table. But one of the reasons I wanted to come to Paris was quite unique.
“We’ve decided my salary will go towards a local children’s charity in Paris and that’s one of the things we’re very excited and proud to be able to do. I’m not sure it’s been done before but it’s something I’m very passionate about.”
While not confirming the exact sum that would be donated, David Beckham did say: “I’m pleased that we can give a huge sum to a children’s charity in Paris – it’s very special.”
David Beckham also revealed that his wife Victoria and their four children will not be moving to France to accompany him during his five-month contract with the team, because the kids are enrolled in schools in London.
He said: “I am excited it’s something that we’ve been talking about for quite a while and now it’s finally happened. My wife and children will be staying in London because the children go to school there now.”
David Beckham also revealed that he will be needing to brush up on his French before his contract with the team begins.
He laughed: “My French? I haven’t spoken French for quite a few years, since I was at school, so I’ll definitely have to brush up on it.”
Asked by a reporter to demonstrate his grasp of the language with a French phrase, David Beckham kept it simple by just saying: “Bonjour!”
David Beckham has revealed he will be donating the entire salary from his new contract with PSG to a children’s charity in Paris
David Beckham added of the move: “I’m very lucky. I’m 37 years old and I got a lot of offers. I’ve had more offers now than I’ve had in my career at my age so I’m very honored by that.
“I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do – I can see the players they’re trying to bring up and the kind of club they will be in 15-20 years time.
“I’m not saying I’m going to be playing in 15-20 years but to be part of something like this is very exciting. I’m very excited and honored to be here.”
Asked why he signed for PSG and not another British team, David Beckham, who has played for teams including Manchester United, said: “I’ve always said I would never want to play for another English club. Manchester United is the team I support and it’s the team I always have supported.
“I’ve always said I don’t want to play for a team unless it’s Manchester United. I’ve had 13 or 14 championship trophies throughout my career, and I’ve played with some of the biggest and best clubs in the world.
“I’m 37 and I’m still fit, I can run around and play like I did when I was 21. I haven’t lost pace because I never really had a lot of pace.”
David Beckham was also asked why he had decided on a five-month contract instead of something more long-term.
He said: “I don’t see that it’s a short term project it might be a short term project for me playing but there’s a lot happening in this club with these owners. Whatever club I’ve gone to and whatever team I’ve played for, I’ve worked hard.
“I don’t expect to come into this team and play every game – I need to work hard. I don’t automatically expect a place in the starting eleven. I might have only signed a contract until the end of the season but I consider myself to be part of helping this club to grow, help the French league to grow and become one of the biggest powerhouses in football.”
David Beckham also revealed that another reason he signed with PSG was because he wanted to take on a new challenge.
He said: “Obviously I’ve played in Europe for a number of years and every time I’ve come up against a French team it’s been the most difficult games. At Real Madrid, the games we played in Lyon and Marseille were some of the toughest.
“The French league is full of talented players and teams. There’s a lot of talent here and it’s a difficult league. I’ve always loved a challenge whatever the league, whatever the club and whatever the culture.”
David Beckham also said he is hoping that the contract with PSG won’t be his last.
David Beckham is on his way to France to complete the formalities of a move to Paris St Germain (PSG).
David Beckham, 37, is expected to be unveiled at a media conference on Thursday and will begin training with the club in the next fortnight.
The midfielder has been without a club since leaving MLS side LA Galaxy in December and has been training with Arsenal.
David Beckham had firm offers from 12 different clubs but has opted for Ligue 1’s big spenders.
Despite recently announcing he was to permanently base his family in London, David Beckham always said he would make a decision on his next move – based on “footballing reasons”.
PSG have spent more than $320 million in the last 18 months, and are managed by Carlo Ancelotti – who was in charge of AC Milan during David Beckham’s loan spell there. They are also still in this season’s Champions League and will face Spanish side Valencia.
David Beckham, who made a record 115 outfield appearances for England, was part of the Manchester United side that famously beat Bayern Munich to win the 1999 Champions League.
He left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2003, before agreeing his move to LA Galaxy in January 2007 and making his debut for the club in August in that year.
David Beckham is on his way to France to complete the formalities of a move to Paris St Germain
David Beckham attracted criticism from some Galaxy fans after agreeing loan moves to AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 which meant missing some of the MLS season.
And he brought an end to his five-and-half-year spell in the United States on 2 December after winning the MLS Cup for the second time.
At PSG, David Beckham will be hoping to win a league title in a fourth country, having already enjoyed success at Manchester United and Real Madrid in Europe before moving to Major League Soccer.
David Beckham had been close to joining PSG last January but opted to stay in California for one more season.
PSG have been the highest-spending club in Europe in the past year and will officially present David Beckham as their player at 17:00.