Twenty-one years removed from trotting out in front of the Old Trafford crowd, David Beckham announced his retirement Thursday afternoon.
Now 38, Beckham spent the first 10 years of his career with English giants Manchester United, and the next 10 traveling the globe with the world’s most high-profile teams.
A marketing and commercial superstar in his own right, Beckham won six Premier League titles and one Champions League with United, and later helped lift Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy, and Paris Saint-Germain to league championships.
Nicknamed “Becks” and perhaps the most recognizable, global sports superstar since the NBA’s Michael Jordan, the 19-time trophy winner decided to step down before his play made an inevitable decline.
"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 told reporters. "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.
"I'm fortunate to have realised those dreams."
Beckham ranks second all-time with 115 appearances for England with 17 goals, including a stunning free kick against Greece in 2002 that sealed his country's trip to the World Cup in a 2-2 draw.
Below are pictures spanning Beckham’s long, decorated career.
David Beckham began his professional career with Manchester United in 1993, and in 10 seasons netted 62 goals in 265 appearances, along wish six Premier League titles. Reuters
From 1996 to 2009, Beckham appeared in 115 international matches for England, scoring 17 goals. Reuters
After 10 seasons at Old Trafford, Beckham would spend the next 10 traveling the globe, and his first stop was with Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2003 to 2007. Reuters
In 2007, Beckham then moved over to the Los Angeles Galaxy of the Major League Soccer. Injuries late in his career made him a step slower, but Beckham still fired off 18 goals in 98 appearances over five seasons. Reuters
Beckham was also loaned to Serie A's AC Milan during his time with the Galaxy. From 2009 to 2010 he scored two goals in 29 matches. Reuters
Beckham finished up his career by signing a five month deal with Ligue 1's Paris Saint-Germain. Reuters