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David Beckham, one of the most popular soccer players in the world, has announced that he will hang up his cleats for good after the season.
"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," Beckham said in a statement. "I'm fortunate to have realized those dreams".
The 38-year-old Beckham won the French league played for Paris St.-Germain in his last season.
"I'm thankful to P.S.G. 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.
Over the course of his career, Beckham won six Premier League titles, two F.A. Cups and the 1999 Champions League title with Manchester United under manager Alex Ferguson, who also retired this month.
However, Beckham and Ferguson had a falling out in 2003 after the manager kicked a cleat on the floor during a tirade in the locker room and it hit the football superstar in the head. They have mended their relationship since.
After that, he joined Real Madrid in the summer of 2003 in a blockbuster transfer worth $45 million.
Then, Beckham moved to Major League Soccer, signing a deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. He helped deliver league championships in 2011 and 2012 to the Galacy before leaving after last season.
Beckham also had 115 appearances for England, a record for an outfield player, and represented his country in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006). He missed his fourth in 2010 after tearing his Achilles' tendon three months before the opening while playing for A.C. Milan.
Over the course of his career, Beckham became a popular endorser and married Spice Girl Victoria Adams. In 2012, Forbes named him as the highest-paid soccer player in the world at 50.6 million, including endorsements.
Despite all of these, Beckham said he wants to be remembered for his performances on the field and not for his celebrity status.
"I want people to see me as a hardworking footballer — someone who, when he steps on the pitch, he gives everything he's got," Beckham said. "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, one of the globe's biggest sports stars, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 38