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David Beckham retires from soccer

May 16, 2013, 10:24 AM EDT

Just 11 months ago, Beckham was walking off the StubHub Center field, and MLS champion. Just 11 months ago, Beckham was walking off the StubHub Center field, and MLS champion.

David Beckham’s glittering career as the world’s most recognizable soccer player is over.

This morning the 38-year-old Englishman announced his retirement from the game, after winning the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and PSG player has become not only one of the greatest names in world soccer but also a global icon.

After captaining his country for many years, Beckham also became the first English player to win league titles in four different countries.

Beckham released the following statement, confirming his retirement from the game.

“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.

“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.”

(PHOTOS: The life and times of David Beckham)

Beckham’s time with the English national team was monumental, winning a record 115 caps as an outfield player and he reflected on his success with England.

“To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country,” Beckham said. “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.”

The former Major League Soccer star then went on to send out one last thanks to those closest to him.

(MORE: Beckham’s five biggest moments in U.S. Socccer)

“I’m honored 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. I also want to thank the fans who have all supported me and given me the strength to succeed.”

Beckham will retire after Paris Saint-Germain’s final game of the French season, when they travel to Lorient on Sunday May 26.

It will be the final game in his storybook career.

(MORE: Bigger impact on game’s growth here, Beckham or Pele?)

(MORE: Beckham’s most memorable moments on the world stage)

(MORE: Emotional Beckham says now is the time to retire)

 

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