David Beckham has revealed the reasons behind his decision to retire from football, insisting that he wants to be remembered as a "hard-working footballer" and he is proud of his achievements in the game but that it is the right time to step away.
The PSG midfielder announced on Thursday that he would be calling time on a sensational career that has spanned two decades and included league championships in four countries, a UEFA Champions League title and more than 100 caps with England.
"I think I’m ready [to retire]," Beckham told SkySports. "It’s a difficult decision. I still feel I could play at the top level and still have done for the last six months but I always secretly said to myself that I want to go out at the top. If you’d said to me eight months ago that I’d be playing in the French League, winning the French Cup, winning the League, and finishing like this I would’ve probably said ‘absolutely no chance.’ But I was given the opportunity to come to PSG and I just feel now is the time... I think!
"I love the game so much. I just feel that, I don’t know, it’s the right time. I believe it’s the right time but I’ll always feel that I can do more, that’s the problem."
Beckham won a championship in his last season with Manchester United, Real Madrid, the LA Galaxy and PSG, and he was grateful for the rare accomplishment and opportunities he was provided.
"I think it’s every athlete’s dream, every footballer’s dream, to go out on top form or winning a trophy," Beckham said. "It doesn’t happen that often but I’ve been lucky. When I left United, we won the league, when I left Madrid we won the league. Leaving the Galaxy; doing two years of winning the championship there, and now obviously coming here and winning the league. It’s nice to go out like that. I think people look back and it’s written. It’s simple. You’re leaving as a champion and I think that’s why it’s the right time."
As for how he'd like to be remembered, Beckham pointed to his passion and work ethic, while praising the high-profile teammates he had along the way for both club and country.
"I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer. Someone who’s passionate about the game and someone that, every time I stepped on the pitch, I’ve given everything that I have because that’s how I feel going into games and the end of my career. That’s how I look back on it and hope people will see me.
"I think over the years it’s been ... my life, my career, people have obviously looked at certain other things that have gone on throughout my career and I think sometimes that’s overshadowed what I’ve achieved on the pitch and as much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does. At the end of the day, I’m a footballer that’s played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, played with some of the best players in the world, played under some of the biggest and best managers and achieved almost everything in football.
"Of course it hurts when people, not question it, but think about other things. To come to the end of my career now and look back and say ‘I’ve achieved everything with every club that I’ve played for, played for my country 115 times, been runner-up twice in the World Player of the Year to two amazing footballers. I’m very proud of that."
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