David Beckham is ready to hang up his cleats -- for good. The 38-year-old soccer star, who has won league titles in four countries, announced on Thursday, May 16, that he would retire from football after the current season, ending his two-decades-long career in the sport.
In a statement about his decision, the British-born athlete said he was "thankful to PSG [Paris St. Germain, his current club] for giving [him] the opportunity to continue" competing. "But I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level," he explained.
Beckham -- married to former Spice Girl and fashion designer Victoria Beckham, with whom he has four kids -- has two games left in the season with PSG. He joined the French powerhouse in January, signing a five-month contract and donating his entire salary (an estimated 150,000 pounds per week) to a local children's charity. He also played for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy, but the majority of his career was spent with Manchester United, where he played for a full 10 years.
"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," the famed footballer said in a statement about his retirement. "I'm fortunate to have realized those dreams."
"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," he continued. "I'm honored to represent England both on and off the pitch. I want to thank all my teammates [and] 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.''