David Beckham, the former England captain, has confirmed his retirement from professional football aged 38.

After a professional career spanning 20 years, Beckham leaves the game as arguably the most iconic British sportsman of the modern age and one of the most marketable celebrities on the planet.

Beckham played for some of the biggest clubs in the world including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Los Angeles Galaxy, AC Milan and latterly Paris Saint Germain, while becoming the most capped England outfield player of all time.

Over the weekend, he became the first British player to win domestic titles in four different countries after claiming the Ligue 1 championship with PSG, whom he joined in January in a deal in which he donated his entire wages to charity.

David Beckham
Beckham has announced his retirement after a 20-year career in the professional game.

"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 said.

"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 one hundred 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.

"To this day, one of my proudest achievements is captaining my country. I knew every time I wore the Three Lions shirt, I was not only following in a long line of great players, I was also representing every fan that cared passionately about their country. I'm honoured to represent England both on and off the pitch."

Beckham joined United on his 14th birthday before being part of a fabled group of players to come through the ranks at Old Trafford, accompanying the likes of Gary Neville and Paul Scholes into the first team under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Following a decade in the United first team, Beckham moved to Real Madrid in 2003 to make up one of most star-studded teams in European football history alongside Luis Figo, Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.

The Leytonstone born midfielder won one major honour at the Bernabeu, before switching to the MLS to play for LA Galaxy, where he won the MLS Cup in successive years, entwined with two loan spells with Serie A giants Milan.

Joining PSG in January 2013, Beckham pledged to play for free, donating his entire wages to a children's charity.

Beckham enjoyed a glittering international career with England, winning 115 caps, the second most capped player in history behind Peter Shilton, while he played at three World Cups and two European Championships and captained his country for five years from 2001-2005.