Beckham calls time on professional career

Former England captain David Beckham, a UEFA Champions League winner with Manchester United FC in 1999, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 38.

Former Manchester United FC and Real Madrid CF midfielder David Beckham will retire from football at the end of the season.

Beckham, 38, has been with Paris Saint-Germain FC since January but has made only one Ligue 1 start. He also appeared in both legs of the French side's UEFA Champions League quarter-final defeat by FC Barcelona. However, he has now decided to call time on a professional career that began more than 20 years ago.

"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. "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.

"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. I'm fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it's my time to give back."

Beckham's winter move to PSG marked his return to Europe after a six-season spell in Major League Soccer with Los Angeles Galaxy, punctuated by two brief loan stints at AC Milan. Prior to that, Beckham made his name at Manchester United, where he launched his career and racked up 266 Premier League appearances. Under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson, he won six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and, most memorably, the 1999 UEFA Champions League.

Beckham went on to have four campaigns with Real Madrid CF, where he lifted a solitary Spanish Liga crown. He can lay claim to being England's most-capped outfield player, having turned out 115 times, ten fewer than all-time record holder Peter Shilton. Beckham skippered his country on more than 50 occasions and represented them at UEFA EURO 2000 and UEFA EURO 2004, as well as the 1998, 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.