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David Beckham announces his retirement

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David Beckham, Britain’s biggest footballing star, both on and off the pitch, has announced his retirement from the game. At the age of 38, a mere nipper by Ryan Giggs standards, the iconic midfielder said that he felt ‘ready’ and that having won the French league with Paris St Germain, he, just like one time boss Alex Ferguson, wanted to go out on a high. Having rejected a new contract at PSG, he departed the sport with the same elegance and grace he has demonstrated throughout his later career after the notoriously costly petulance of 1998.

In a glittering if strangely nomadic career post Manchester United, Beckham won 10 league titles in four different countries and made 115 England appearances. Bursting out of the ‘golden generation’ both the real one at Manchester United and the delusional one in the England side, he became the most recognisable football player in the world and despite always seeming down to earth and genuine, his own career mirrored the shifting currents in the sport as it changed beyond recognition into a global business.

Beckham said. “Obviously, it’s a difficult decision, because I still feel that I can play at the top level, and still have done for the last six months,” Beckham said. “But I always secretly said to myself that I want to go out at the top. And if you’d have said to me eight months ago I’d be playing in the French league - winning the league - and finishing like this, I would have probably said, absolutely no chance.

But I was given the opportunity to come to PSG and I just feel now is the right time.

“I just feel that I’ve been so lucky throughout my career, the fact that I’ve played for the clubs that I’ve played for, the players that I’ve played with, won the trophies that I’ve won. It’s a good way to go out.”

As plaudits flooded in for Beckham from the likes of David Cameron and the Berlusconi-esque, Sepp Blatter and Lord Coe began soliciting him for an ‘ambassadorial’ role, it seemed that as Beckham took the final whistle, his departure was tinged with regret at the blurring of the lines between footballer, tabloid regular and brand. With all the best will in the world, he perhaps brought that on himself.

“I want people to see me as a hard-working footballer,” he said in an interview with Sky television. “Someone that’s passionate about the game. Someone that, every time I stepped on the pitch, I’ve given everything that I have, because that's how I feel.

“People have obviously looked at certain other things that have gone on throughout my career, and I think sometimes that’s overshadowed what I’ve done on the pitch and what I’ve achieved on the pitch. As much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does.

"At the end of the day I’m a footballer who has played at some of the biggest football clubs in the world. Played with some of the best players in the world.

"Played under some of the biggest and best managers, and achieved almost everything in football. I think of course it hurts when people, not question it, but think about other things.

“To come to the end of my career and look back and say, I’ve achieved everything with every club that I’ve played for, I played for my country 115 times, been World Player of the Year runner-up twice to two amazing footballers. I’m very proud of that.”

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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