David Beckham Retires: A Look at His Career Highlights (and Lowlights)
We all knew this day would come sooner rather than later.
As David Beckham entered his 38th year, an age by which most professional footballers have retired already, it was obvious there was not long left of Becks' career timeline.
On May 16th, 2013, it became official—David Beckham, according to bbc.co, announced he would be retiring from playing at the end of this current season.
Since making his debut for Manchester United in 1992, Beckham has risen to become one of the most recognizable people on the planet, transcending the sport into the world of global celebrity thanks to his pop star wife, a long list of endorsements and ambassadorial roles and his handsome appearance.
With all the off-field buzz that surrounds Beckham, it is sometimes overlooked what phenomenal accomplishments he has achieved in his playing career.
Beckham is the most capped outfield player in England history, the only Englishman to have won championships in four different countries and he has accumulated over 20 major team trophies during his career.
Here is a look back at David Beckham's illustrious career.
May 1992: Winning the FA Youth Cup
A year after leaving home at the age of 16 to sign a youth training contract with Manchester United, Beckham won the FA Youth Cup with a squad that also featured Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt.
Later in the year, Beckham would be given his first-team debut in the League Cup and would sign his first professional contract shortly after that on January 8th, 1993.
1995: Loaned to Preston North End
Shortly after Beckham made his Champions League debut (and scored) for Manchester United, he was loaned out to Preston North End to gain first-team experience and scored two goals in five games while at Deepdale.
April 2nd, 1995: Premier League Debut
August 17, 1996: Wondergoal vs. Wimbledon
On the opening day of the 1996-97 season, Beckham edged himself toward being a household name by scoring from inside his own half against Wimbledon.
The goal can be seen here.
September 1, 1996: England Debut
Just a few weeks following his halfway-line goal against Wimbledon, Beckham made his England debut in a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova.
June 26, 1998: Scores Freekick in First World Cup Start
After riding the bench for the first two games of the World Cup in 1998, Beckham was handed his first start in the game against Columbia. He showed manager Glenn Hoddle what he had been missing by curling home a free-kick.
June 30, 1998: Beckham Sent off vs Argentina; England Eliminated from World Cup
The lowest point of Beckham's career came later in the 1998 World Cup in the round of 16 against Argentina.
Beckham was fouled by Diego Simeone and flicked his boot into the calf of the Argentine, who fell to the floor like he had been shot.
Beckham got a red card and became the scapegoat as England lost on penalties.
1999: Part of the Manchester United Team That Wins the Treble
Manchester United wrapped up their historic treble in 1999 with the dramatic last-gasp win over Bayern Munich.
Becks started in center midfield that day due to the suspensions of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, and it was his two corners in injury time that led to United's two goals.
November 15, 2000: Elected England Captain
Caretaker England manager Peter Taylor elected Beckham his captain for the friendly against Italy. Beckham was eventually permanently installed as captain by new boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Beckham would go on to captain his country 59 times.
October 6, 2001: Heroics for England
David Beckham has many career highlights, but if there was one singular moment that defined Beckham's greatness, this was it.
England are losing 2-1 to Greece, needing a point to qualify for the 2002 World Cup. In the closing moments of the game, they win a free-kick.
England's captain swings his right foot, wraps it around the ball and curls the ball over the wall and into the goal to send the country into delirium.
England fans can watch this goal again and again...
June 18, 2003: Sold to Real Madrid
June 17, 2007: Wins La Liga Championship with Real Madrid
In his fourth and final season at Real Madrid, Beckham finally won the La Liga title.
Beckham scored a total of 20 goals in 155 games at Real.
June 21st, 2007: Debut with LA Galaxy
In January 2007, Beckham announced he would be moving to the L.A. Galaxy of Major League Soccer at the end of his season with Real Madrid.
His move created a huge media buzz across the planet, and he made his debut against Chelsea in the World Series of Soccer.
His MLS debut came away at DC United on August 9th, but his first MLS season was riddled with injury.
October 14, 2009: Final Game for England
On October 14, 2009, Beckham represented his country for the 115th and final time against Belarus.
Beckham may have been able to add to his total, but an Achilles tendon injury ruled him out of the 2010 World Cup (where Beckham still traveled as a member of the England staff).
His 115 England caps is second all time for England (behind former goalkeeper Peter Shilton) and most by an outfield player. He also totaled 17 international goals.
2011: MLS Cup Champion
A tumultuous start to his career in L.A., sandwiched between two loan spells with AC Milan, was remedied in November 2011, when the L.A. Galaxy became MLS Cup winners.
The L.A. Galaxy and Beckham would repeat the feat in 2012.
January 13, 2013: Signs with Paris Saint-Germain
Beckham announced he would be leaving the L.A. Galaxy following the 2012 season. Despite all of the rumors of clubs he could potentially join, on January 13, 2013, he announced he would be signing with PSG for the remainder of the Ligue 1 season and that he would be donating his salary to a local children's charity.
May 12, 2013: PSG Win Ligue 1 Title
PSG's 1-0 victory over Lyon in May 2013 confirmed the league title for Paris Saint-Germain.
It was the 10th league title in Beckham's career in his fourth different country.
May 16th, 2013: Beckham Retires
Beckham announced he would be retiring following the Ligue 1 season with PSG, with just two games remaining on the schedule.