Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2013 Contents A51
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LONDON---David Beckham is retir-
ing from soccer, ending a career in
which he transcended the sport with
forays into fashion and a marriage
to a pop star that made him a global
The 38-year-old former England
captain, who recently won a league
title in a fourth country with Paris
Saint-Germain, said yesterday he will
retire after the season.
"It s a good way to go out," Beckham
said in Paris. "It s every athlete s dream,
every footballer s dream to go out on
the top---on top form or winning a
trophy ... leaving as a champion."
Beckham, whose curling free kicks
and pin-point crosses became his sig-
nature as a player, has two more
matches left at PSG against Brest on
Saturday and at Lorient on May 26.
He has been giving his salary to a chil-
dren s charity.
Asked what led to his decision,
Beckham replied with a laugh: "Prob-
ably when (Lionel) Messi was running
past me in that home game," referring
to PSG s Champions League match
against Barcelona last month.
Beckham started his career with
Manchester United and also played
for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles
Galaxy, winning titles with all those
clubs and also making a record 115
international appearances for an Eng-
land outfield player.
Fifa President Sepp Blatter described
the midfielder as "one of the most
iconic figures in global football."
"It s the end of a chapter of an
amazing story," Blatter wrote on Twit-
ter. "David grew up as a football loving
child and achieved his dreams, and
unquestionably inspired millions of
boys and girls to try and do the same.
"Whatever he chooses to do next
I m sure he ll approach with the same
dedication and good grace he displayed
the last 21 years."
Beckham s fame went beyond the
field, with his haircuts and clothing
scrutinised as often as his play, earning
him a string of lucrative sponsorship
"Sometimes that has overshadowed
what I have done on the pitch or what
I have achieved on the pitch," Beckham
said in a television interview conducted
by former United teammate Gary
Neville. "And as much as I say that
doesn t hurt me, of course it does.
"I am a footballer that has played
for some of the biggest clubs in the
world and played with some of the
best players in the world, played under
some of the biggest and best managers
and achieved almost everything in
Beckham was even immortalised
on the silver screen in the 2002 film
"Bend it Like Beckham," which told
the story of a British teenage girl of
south Asian heritage struggling with
family pressures and cultural expec-
tations to play the sport she loves.
Beckham s retirement led to a flood
of tweets dubbing the day "End it
"If you had told me as a young boy
I would have played for and won tro-
phies with my boyhood club Man-
chester United, proudly captained and
played for my country over one hun-
dred times and lined up for some of
the biggest clubs in the world, I would
have told you it was a fantasy," said
Beckham, who also played on loan at
AC Milan. "I m fortunate to have
realised those dreams."
It was his appearances with Eng-
land s national team that raised his
"To this day, one of my proudest
achievements is captaining my coun-
try," 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
"I m honoured to represent England
both on and off the pitch."
Beckham is now living in London
with his wife Victoria, a former "Spice
Girls" singer, and their four children.
"I wouldn t have achieved what I
have done today without my family.
I m grateful for my parents sacrifice,
which made me realise my dreams,"
he said. "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."
Victoria Beckham said the couple
is "excited about the next chapter in
"The children and I are so proud
of David. It s been an incredible jour-
ney for us all as we have watched him
play at clubs all over the world
throughout the last 15 years," she said.
"Myself and the children have
cheered him from the stands, as he
has held high trophies ... this was not
an easy decision to make, and to me
and the children he will always be an
amazing sportsman and a devoted
husband and father."
With United between 1992 and
2003, Beckham won six Premier
League titles, the Champions League,
two FA Cups and the Intercontinental
Beckham left United in 2003 shortly
after manager Alex Ferguson acciden-
tally struck Beckham s eye with a foot-
ball boot. Ferguson announced his
retirement from Manchester United
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.
"I just want people to see me as a
hardworking footballer," Beckham said.
"Someone who is passionate about
the game, somebody who every time
I have stepped on the pitch I have
given everything that I have."
There were highs and lows in Beck-
ham s international career. He was
blamed for England s elimination from
the 1998 World Cup for his red card
against Argentina, but scored the win-
ning goal against the same team at
the World Cup four years later.
Beckham responded to jeering at
the 2000 European Championship
with an obscene hand gesture to Eng-
land fans, but was lauded by the same
supporters little more than a year later
when his last-minute free kick against
Greece secured a place at the 2002
England dropped Beckham in
August 2006 in an effort to renew
the team with younger players after
a quarterfinal exit at that year s World
Cup. England coach Steve McClaren
recalled him the following year after
a poor run of form, and he returned
for the remainder of England s unsuc-
cessful attempt to qualify for the 2008
Continues on Page A53
This is a May 25, 1999 file photo of Manchester United's midfielder David
Beckham holding the winner's cup, after his side defeated Bayern Munich in
their Champions League final football match, at the Nou Camp stadium.
Reaction to David Beckham's
decision to retire from football at the
end of the season, which he
"David Beckham, one of the most
iconic figures in global football is
retiring from playing. It's the end of a
chapter of an amazing story. David
grew up as a football-loving child &
achieved his dreams, and
unquestionably inspired millions of
boys & girls to try & do the same."
--- Fifa President Sepp Blatter
"He is a fantastic footballer and a
fantastic person. All over the world
you say 'David Beckham' and people
know who that is."
--- Former England coach Sven-
"I wish him well in the future
whatever he chooses to do and I
personally hope that will be in
football." ---England coach Roy
Reaction to Beckham announcing his retirement
Beckham to retire
at end of season
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