End It Like Beckham: Soccer Star to Retire - NBC Southern California

End It Like Beckham: Soccer Star to Retire

The English international won back-to-back MLS titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy



    End It Like Beckham: Soccer Star to Retire
    Getty Images
    WUHAN, CHINA - MARCH 23: British football player David Beckham attends a meeting with the Youth Football Team at Hankou Literary and Sports Center on March 23, 2013 in Wuhan, China. David Beckham is on a five-day visit to China at the invitation of the China Football Association as China's first international ambassador. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

    Former Los Angeles Galaxy star and English international David Beckham confirmed to the Associated Press Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the end of the French league season.

    Beckham, 38, recently won a league title with French side Paris Saint-Germain. Beckham has won league titles in four different countries, including two with Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy.

    Beckham rocketed to international fame as a member of storied English club Manchester United. He went on to play for Spain's Real Madrid and the Galaxy before joining PSG this season.

    Beckham told the AP he is "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."

    PSG has two matches remaining on its schedule, but already wrapped up a league title. Beckham has been donating his five-month salary from the club to a children's charity.

    With United between 1992 and 2003, Beckham won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup. Beckham left United in 2003 shortly after manager Alex Ferguson accidentally struck Beckham's eye with a shoe.

    "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,'' Beckham said.

    Beckham spent four years in Madrid -- winning the 2007 Spanish title before making the surprise move to Major League Soccer, where he won the title twice.

    Beckham signed a hefty contract in 2007 to join the Galaxy, but off-field sources -- such as endorsements -- made him one of the world's wealthiest athletes and expanded the Beckham brand. Forbes estimated he earned about $255 million -- including money earned on and off the field -- during his six seasons with the MLS team.

    In Forbes' 2012 rankings of the world's highest-paid athletes, Beckham was No. 8.

    During Beckham's time in the United States, the league added franchises and several new soccer-only stadiums. The era also saw the transfer of several high-profile players -- such as France's Thierry Henry and Ireland's Robbie Keane -- to MLS teams.

    Beckham has made 115 appearances for England's national team -- a record for a player other than a goalkeeper. Although there were some memorable moments on the international stage, but the competitions often ended in disappointment for Beckham and his teammates.

    England was eliminated from the 1998 World Cup after Beckham was issued a red card against rival Argentina. He rebounded four years later to score the winning goal against Argentina, but England lost to Brazil in the quarterfinal round.

    Beckham's last match with England came against Belarus in October 2009. He did not play in the 2010 World Cup because of an Achilles injury.