David Beckham, last seen partying in Paris celebrating Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title, announced Thursday he is retiring from professional soccer at the age of 38.
“I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level,” Beckham said in a statement reported by the Associated Press.
Beckham spent the twilight of his career from 2007-12 playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS. It was a strange combination of celebrity mixing with sport and his American saga started off on many sour notes, but by the end of his tenure in MLS he was a two-time league champion and a vital contributor on those Galaxy squads.
For whatever you want to say about him, Beckham was a winner nearly everywhere he went on the club level, winning six Premier League trophies with Manchester United and a La Liga crown while playing as part of the Galatico-era Real Madrid. Although international success for Beckham was limited and he’ll likely always been remembered for his red card in the 1998 World Cup vs. Argentina, he still holds the England caps record for an outfield player with 115.
One thing that should be noted is that during his career Beckham was never the best player in the world, despite his popularity and ability to help sell everything from male hair car products, to Adidas sneakers to Walt Disney World vacations. That’s not to say he wasn’t very good, but his celebrity status alongside his pop star wife, Victoria, overshadowed his on-field accomplishments as his career progressed.
That said, Beckham’s right foot was able to produce consistent moments of magic on free kicks and is the reason he’ll long be remembered in almost all soccer circles from London to Los Angeles to everywhere in between.
Oddly enough, Beckham will out-last his former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who announced his retirement last week. The Premier League season in England wraps up this weekend, while Beckham’s last match with PSG is May 26 at Lorient.
[photo via Getty]