DAVID Beckham is retiring from football, ending a career in which he became a superstar who transcended the sport.
The 38-year-old, who recently won a league title in a fourth country with Paris Saint-Germain, said he will retire at the end of the season.
"I'm thankful to PSG for giving me the opportunity to continue, but now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level," the former England captain said.
Beckham has just two more matches left at PSG, where his salary has been going to a children's charity.
Beckham started his career with Manchester United, and also played for Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy, winning titles with all three.
"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 100 times and lined up for some of the biggest clubs in the world, I would have told you it was a fantasy," Beckham said.
Beckham holds the England record for making 115 appearances for the national team.
"To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country," Beckham said. "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."
With United between 1992 and 2003, Beckham won six Premier League titles, the Champions League, two FA Cups and the Intercontinental Cup.
Beckham left United in 2003 and spent four years with Real Madrid, winning the 2007 Spanish title before moving to Major League Soccer in the US, where he won the title twice.
There were highs and lows in Beckham's international career. He was blamed for England's elimination from the 1998 World Cup for his petulant red card against Argentina, but scored the winning goal against the same team in the World Cup four years later.
Beckham responded to jeering at the 2000 European Championship with an obscene hand gesture to England fans, but was lauded by the same supporters little more than a year later when his last-minute free kick against Greece secured a place at the 2002 World Cup.
England dropped Beckham in August 2006 in an effort to renew the team with younger players after a quarter-final exit at that year's World Cup.
Coach Steve McClaren recalled him the following year after a run of stuttering form, and he returned for the remainder of England's unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the 2008 European Championship.
His last England appearance came against Belarus in October 2009, and he missed the 2010 World Cup because of an Achilles' injury, but went to South Africa as part of Fabio Capello's backroom staff.
"I want to thank all my teammates, the great managers that I had the pleasure of learning from," Beckham said.
"Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love; however I feel like I'm starting a new adventure and I'm genuinely excited about what lies ahead."