Yesterday, Soccer legend David Beckham announced his retirement, ending an illustrious 21 year career defined as much by his performance on the pitch as his high-profile celebrity lifestyle off it.
Though never thought of as the strongest of footballers but recognized widely for his uncanny ability to manipulate ball movement, his contributions on various teams around the globe have cemented his legacy as the only player in any sport to win championships in four different countries.
“It’s a good way to go out,” said Beckham...
content and appreciative of the decision to retire on his own terms. “It’s every athlete’s dream… to go out on the top- on top form or winning a trophy… leaving as a champion.” Beckham, although still an elite athlete, has little left to prove as a footballer since he has achieved nearly every possible accomplishment in the sport.
Beckham, 38, signed with Manchester United, the team he idolized in his youth, at the young age of 14. Already a promising superstar, from his debut in 1992 until he parted with the team in 2003, Beckham contributed to six Premiere League titles and won the Champions League, two FA cups, as well as the European Intercontinental Cup.
At the height of his Man U career in 1999, Beckham’s notoriety soared when he married Victoria Adams, then known commonly as Posh Spice of the Spice Girls. The combination of the world’s most recognizable footballer and a pop music icon set off a media frenzy that never settled. From this added exposure, Beckham was able to land extremely lucrative sponsorships that continued to drive his popularity upward and vault him into a global sex symbol.
Beckham then played four years for Real Madrid from 2003, leading them to a La Liga championship in 2007, all while continuing to captain the England national team. Though failing to lead England to a World Cup title, he played a record 115 games with the national team, and reached the peak of his global notoriety. By this time, there was no denying that David Beckham was a household name the world over.
In an effort to increase the sport’s popularity in the US, and a move considered by many to be career suicide, Beckham signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy MLS club. This caused much controversy amidst the fanfare, with many claiming that signing the aging footballer was merely a publicity stunt. Beckham, no stranger to criticism, silenced the doubters with his contributions two consecutive MLS Cup wins in 2011 and 2012.
Beckham will end his career as a member of Paris Saint-Germain, with whom he recently won the Ligue 1 championship, his fourth title in as many countries.
His playing career now behind him, Beckham will likely focus his attention to managing or owning an MLS soccer club- a stipulation and allowance that was built as incentive into his original MLS player contract. Regardless of his retirement plans, don’t expect Beckham to disappear- given his icon status in the world of sports and the branding behemoth that is the Beckham name, it will take much more than retirement for him to fade from the spotlight.
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