With that, the entire sports world reflects on a tenure that took the football star from a young kid delighting Manchester United fans to a global icon who has played in nearly every continent.
All the while, Beckham has transcended the pitch to affect everything from American opinions on the sport to references in every conceivable artistic medium.
Oh, and then there was the hair—or lack thereof.
We can talk at length about the impact this man has had on the sport he loves or his precision on the pitch that made him such a treat to watch.
For now, however, let's have a little fun with a look at the hairstyle choices of world football's most famous player.
This photo from May 10, 1993 shows Beckham as a young man just getting started with Manchester United. As for the hair, this is the same part down the middle every last one of my friends had in the early '90s.
It's hair a la Backstreet Boys, and that makes me sad.
Yes, David Beckham was captivating a nation, but he was playing it safe up top. Soon, he will come to the realization that he can do absolutely anything he wants both on the pitch and off.
Mohawks, cornrows and the like were just a glint in this superstar's eye. In some respects, these were the good ol' days.
One does not simply dive right into the pool. You have to dip your toes in and test the water's temperature. You sample. You experiment. You cautiously traipse toward an epic dive.
Here is Beckham getting comfy cozy with his hair, letting the part down the middle disappear into a splash of bangs.
Watch out now, because Beckham just discovered you could dye this thing. We are about to enter the era of some wildly creative hairdos.
At some point in 1998, Beckham must have looked at his stylist and said "You mean it also comes in extra shiny?!?"
Some people just like to see the world burn.
As the century turned, Beckham decided to throw up a great big middle finger to all his fans who couldn't get enough of his luscious locks.
Every guy has tried the buzz cut at some point and found out one glaring reality: Not having to comb one's hair in the morning is a special kind of freedom.
Is this the greatest hairstyle offered by Beckham? No, but it is grand, memorable and captivating. Consider this the Snatch to Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or 2Pac's "Me Against the World" to his "All Eyez on Me."
Life would have been so much sweeter if I told you that Becks rocked a mullet. Sadly, this is as close as we may ever come.
As it seems, some guys can fly close to the sun and come away unscathed.
At the tail end of an eventful year, Beckham decided to look like famed athletic trainer Susan Powter with far too-much energy.
Cornrows: the easiest way to look ridiculous. Beckham took one big attempt at kicking this hairstyle into the net, but sent it wide right into the stands.
With a new team, Real Madrid, Beckham decided the most sensible thing to do was look like a James Bond villain.
Some of life's problems are so easily fixed. When the world hands you far too much great hair, you tie it up in a petite bun in the back.
The only thing that would have made this treat better would have been the addition of a scrunchie.
Becks seemed to enjoy not having hair so much that he again took a No. 1 to his entire dome. I dare any of you out there to decimate your hair follicles and look like this.
Beckham's hair grew back—as hair is often known to do. Becks cut, mussed and sampled until he decided on the simple yet refined coiffure you see here.
Like the Mr. Rogers of hair, we have nothing bad to say about it.
Yes, Beckham decided to shave it all off as he left Europe for the L.A. Galaxy. The man can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Again, Beckham teases the mullet and errs on the side of sanity, but only slightly.
If you are wondering where you have seen this hair before, it was on the "Rockumentary" episode of Saved by the Bell.
Simple and sleek: David Beckham is going out with class, and I mean that in every manner possible. The superstar gave away his salary from this final season to charity and helped put PSG on top of Ligue 1.
He may be retiring from football, but he will continue to dominate the pop-culture realm in the same manner he has since he started.
Now we await the next crazy idea that plays out atop that very famous head.
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