London: Former England captain David Beckham has announced his retirement from football, ending a 20-year glittering playing career during which he became a global superstar. (Agencies)
The 38-year-old popular English star, who has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Los Angeles Galaxy, called it quits after two decades at the top of the game as he turned down the offer of an extended one-year deal at his current club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
"I'm thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level," he said.
"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. I'm fortunate to have realized those dreams," he added.
Beckham holds the England record for making 115 appearances as an outfield player for the national team and is the only English player to win championships in four countries.
Currently based in the US, he is expected to return to London with his wife Victoria and children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.
His fortune is said to be worth around Pound 165 million and there have previously been suggestions that he would like to pursue his coaching schemes for schoolchildren.
Beckham added in a statement: "I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family. I'm grateful for my parents' sacrifice, which made me realize my dreams.
"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.
"I want to thank all my team-mates, 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."
He has two final games before the end of the season, when his retirement would take effect.
The midfielder made his England debut against Moldova in 1996 and captained the side from 2000 to 2006.
His retirement comes days after his mentor and former Manchester United coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, announced his own retirement from the game.
Beckham's professional career began with Manchester United, making his first-team debut in 1992 aged 17. With United, Beckham won the Premier League title six times, the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Champions League in 1999.
He then played four seasons with Real Madrid, winning the La Liga championship in his final season with the club.
In 2007 Beckham signed a five-year contract with Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy.
London: Former England captain David Beckham has announced his retirement from football, ending a 20-year glittering playing career during which he became a global superstar.