David Beckham to retire from football at the end of the season

Beckham joined Paris Saint-Germain at the start of 2013 and won the Ligue 1 title with the club. Photo: PA

David Beckham will retire from football at the end of this season.

Former England captain Beckham, 38, will call it a day after winning the French league title with Paris St Germain.

Beckham said: "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."

Beckham added: "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 realised those dreams."

Beckham made his debut for Manchester United in 1992, winning six league titles and the Champions League before moving to Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy, plus loan spells at AC Milan.

He made his England debut in 1996 and would go on to be the Three Lions' most capped outfield player with 115 appearances. He was the first English player to score in three consecutive World Cup finals tournaments.

Beckham said: "To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country.

"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. I'm honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch."

Beckham's goal against Greece at Old Trafford in 2001 goes down as one of the iconic moments in England football history. Credit: PA

Beckham won the Primera Division title in his final season in Spain and the US Major League Soccer championship twice.

He added: "I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family. I'm grateful for my parents' sacrifice, which made me realise 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 also want to thank Simon Fuller and his team for their continued support.

"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."

Beckham has this year become an ambassador for the sport in China.

"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," said Beckham.

"I'm fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it's my time to give back."

Beckham has two final games before the end of the season, the last home match of his career being this Saturday against Brest at Parc des Princes.

I wouldn't have achieved what I have done today without my family. I'm grateful for my parents' sacrifice, which made me realise 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.

– David Beckham's statement

FA chairman David Bernstein paid tribute to Beckham.

He said: "In the week following Sir Alex Ferguson retiring, which came as a bit of a shock, now we have the iconic David Beckham coming out of the game.

"It's unexpected even though he is getting to mature years for a footballer.

"He is an iconic figure in the game and produced wonderful performances for his clubs, particularly Manchester United.

"When you look at his playing and work for England, no one would ever accuse him of being unpatriotic and not giving everything for his country.

"He is a real loss to the game and I am sure the FA will want to embrace him and to get him closely associated with the organisation.

"I would personally wish him every luck and success - he will be quite a loss to the game."