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Beckham: I retire as a champion

ESPN staff
May 16, 2013

David Beckham has told Sky Sports News he is proud to retire from football as a champion after helping his final club Paris Saint-Germain to the Ligue 1 title.

Beckham, 38, announced on Thursday his playing days will come to an end after PSG's final league game of the season against Lorient on May 22.

The former England captain signed for PSG in the January transfer window, having left LA Galaxy, and has since played a role in PSG's clinching of the league title, making nine appearances.

Reflecting on his decision to call time on his career, Beckham said it was a tough conclusion to come to but that he looked back on what he has achieved at Manchester United, Real Madrid, Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG with pride.

He told Sky Sports News: "I think I am ready. It is a difficult decision as I still feel I can play at the top level. I have done for the last six months.

"I secretly said to myself that I want to go out at the top. If you had said to me eight months ago that I would be finishing like this, playing in the French league, then I would have probably said 'absolutely no chance'. Winning the French league with PSG is a good way to go out.

"I just feel now is the time. I love the game so much. I believe it is the right time. I will always feel that I could give more.

I have been so lucky throughout my career - the clubs I have played with, the trophies that I have won. I have been so lucky in my career and winning the MLS Cup last year, winning the league at PSG, it feels right. It's every athlete's dream to go out winning a trophy.

"When I left Madrid we had just won the league, when I left United we had just won the league. Now here we have won the league. It is nice to go out like that, to leave as a champion."

Asked about how he would like to be remembered as a player, Beckham said: "I want people to see me as a hard-working footballer. Someone who is passionate about the game. Someone who has given everything every time they've stepped on the pitch.

"Over the years people have looked at certain other things that have gone on in my career. Sometimes that has overshadowed what I have done on the pitch or what I achieved on the pitch.

"At the end of the day, I'm a footballer who has played for some of the best clubs in the world, played with some of the best players in the world and with some of the best teams.

"Of course it hurts when people question it and think about other things. To come to the end of my career and say I have achieved so much in the game, played 115 times for my country, finished runner-up twice in the FIFA World Player of the Year, I'm very proud of that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.