Skip to main content

End it like Beckham: Global superstar David Beckham to retire

May 16, 2013 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
David Beckham made an immediate impact at Paris Saint-Germain, with victories in his first two appearances against French rivals Marseille. David Beckham made an immediate impact at Paris Saint-Germain, with victories in his first two appearances against French rivals Marseille.
HIDE CAPTION
The career of David Beckham
Paris plan
Leaving LA
On the rise
Red mist
Treble
Redemption
Beckham's Real deal
Golden goodbye
Reborn in the USA
Glory with Galaxy
Posh and Becks
London lad
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former England captain David Beckham retires from football
  • The midfielder played 115 times for his country between 1996 and 2009
  • Beckham played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy
  • The 38-year-old most recently played for French champions Paris Saint-Germain

Can you "bend it" like Beckham? Pay tribute to the footballer by recreating the move that made him famous.

(CNN) -- End it like Beckham. One of the most iconic football stars of his generation, David Beckham is to retire at the end of the season to bring down the curtain on a glittering career.

As well as winning over 100 caps for his England and lifting 19 trophies in two different continents, it was his ability to maximize the power of the "Beckham brand" that allowed the footballer to transcend his sport and appeal to a worldwide mass audience.

Beckham's marriage to former Spice Girl and fashion designer, Victoria, probably helped as well.

"Brand Beckham is dead, long live Brand Beckham!" sports business expert Simon Chadwick told CNN. "Beckham's transition from athlete commodity to sporting statesman and entrepreneur is now complete."

Beckham: I want to go out on top
David Beckham calls it a career
2011: Beckham: I always want to win
PSG: One year on

This year, Beckham became the first ever sportsman from outside of China to be invited to become the ambassador for the sport in the country.

He is estimated to be Britain's wealthiest sportsman, earning in excess of $46 million a year, according to France Football magazine.

"I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family," said Beckham in a statement. "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."

Beckham's decision to retire comes days after the 38-year-old won his latest title with French club Paris Saint-Germain.

"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," added Beckham.

The Englishman, who won the Champions League with Manchester United in 1999, also won league titles with Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy before arriving in the French capital earlier this year after signing a short-term contract.

"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," said Beckham.

"I'm fortunate to have realized those dreams."

Despite playing for some of the world's top clubs, Beckham singled out captaining his country as one of his "proudest achievements".

"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," said Beckham, who won 115 caps for England.

"I'm honoured 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.

David Beckham's life in Paris
David Beckham is a man of many talents. Not only is he one of the most famous names in sports, but he's also one heck of a model. Tommy Hilfiger has now recognized the 38-year-old former soccer player as the No. 1 underwear model of the century. It's just one of several career highs for Beckham, seen here modeling Emporio Armani underwear in a 2009-2010 ad campaign. David Beckham is a man of many talents. Not only is he one of the most famous names in sports, but he's also one heck of a model. Tommy Hilfiger has now recognized the 38-year-old former soccer player as the No. 1 underwear model of the century. It's just one of several career highs for Beckham, seen here modeling Emporio Armani underwear in a 2009-2010 ad campaign.
David Beckham through the years
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
David Beckham through the years David Beckham through the years

"I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed.''

Beckham had the chance to join PSG in January 2012, but opted to stay in the U.S., ending his American mission with his second MLS Cup title before announcing that he would not fulfill the second year of his contract extension.

"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."

Many of Beckham's former teammates and managers spoke of the positive impact his professionalism had on the clubs he played for.

"He was a great teammate and a role model for young players," said LA Galaxy Bruce Arena. "He had achieved so much, but wanted to keep on achieving."

Read: Beckham speaks of sacrifice

But former PSG winger David Ginola told CNN that he had had a conversation with Beckham a few weeks ago when the Englishman confided he had begun to question his fitness to play at the highest level.

Not that Beckham's playing career is quite over -- yet.

French Champions PSG's last two games are against Brest at the Parc des Princes in the French capital on Saturday and at Lorient the following Sunday.

Read: Beckham to donate PSG wages to children's charity

Meanwhile on Twitter, messages of congratulations poured in from some of his former teammates and clubs and even politicians.

"Best wishes as David #BeckhamRetires His magical free kicks for @MUFC and England will live long in the memory of all football fans," tweeted British Prime Minister David Cameron.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1523 GMT (2323 HKT)
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1339 GMT (2139 HKT)
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
March 4, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1807 GMT (0207 HKT)
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
February 18, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1825 GMT (0225 HKT)
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 2118 GMT (0518 HKT)
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT