On this day, David Beckham announced his retirement from football

Beckham is the 2nd most capped England player of all time (115). He is also the only Englishman to score in three different World Cups.

David Beckham file photo, Image credit: Facebook/David Beckham
By Amruth Kalidas | May 16, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

When David Beckham broke a bone in his left foot before the 2002 World Cup, Tony Blair, then the British prime minister, interrupted a cabinet meeting to express his concern over England’s chances in the tournament. Tabloid newspapers ran photos of Beckham’s injured foot on page one and asked readers to lay their hands on the picture in an attempt at mass civic healing.

On 16th May 2013, Beckham, never the best player in the world but unsurpassed in his era as a cultural phenomenon, announced his impending retirement from football at 38. Beckham was not merely an athlete; he was an international brand that smartly fused a handsomeness that bordered on beauty with athleticism, marketing savvy and an eager embrace of the role of pop idol.

He was as popular appearing in underwear advertisements as in a soccer uniform. His wife was a member of the Spice Girls, and his precise passes and curling free kicks inspired a film, “Bend it Like Beckham,” serving as a metaphor for triumph over social restriction.


Despite his looks and talent, Beckham was not a prima donna on the field. He was considered to have given everything for his club teams and the England national team, winning titles with some of the world’s most popular clubs – Manchester United of England’s Premier League, Real Madrid of Spain’s La Liga and Paris St.-Germain of France’s Ligue 1.


His name and reputation alone brought newfound international respect for professional soccer in the United States during his six seasons and two championships with the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer. Beckham’s role in raising global awareness of soccer in the United States is undeniable. During Beckham’s first year with the Galaxy, the club’s revenue rose as much as 40 percent.

And, in the era of the Internet and satellite television, Beckham’s career proved hugely influential in the swelling interest of European football in Asia and elsewhere around the globe.


In China, Beckham’s nickname is Xiao Bei, or Little Becks. Beckham signed a contract reportedly worth as much as $75 million simply to be an ambassador for its league.

Beckham’s brand, perhaps more than any other athlete, was himself. While Michael Jordan will always be linked with Nike, Beckham’s business associations ran a spectacularly wide gamut. When he arrived in the United States in 2007, he already had agreements with Adidas, Gillette, Motorola, Pepsi and Walt Disney, and added partnerships with Giorgio Armani, Sharpie, Yahoo, Electronic Arts, Samsung, Burger King, Sainsbury’s and Breitling at various times during his stay in the United States. He also started an underwear line with H&M.

Part of Beckham’s appeal is that branding is a family business. When Beckham launched his cologne in 2005, he did it with the company that also licenses his wife Victoria’s perfumes. The couple then started a joint fragrance line, Intimately Beckham, a year later. Even Beckham’s son, Romeo, 10, is involved in pushing the family brand as he was featured in a recent advertising campaign for Burberry.


David Beckham spent five seasons in Major League Soccer, playing for the LA Galaxy where he won two MLS Cup trophies. The former England international now intends to return to U.S. soccer once again as part of an ownership group that will bring top-tier soccer back to Miami, Florida.

He had received an option to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league in 2007. The league held preliminary discussions with Beckham’s advisers about several expansion targets. In December 2013 State of the League address, Garber identified Beckham and Simon Fuller as potential owners in Miami.

Beckham is just one owner of Inter Miami, and is part of an ownership group which was initially called Miami Beckham United, but now operates under the name Miami Freedom Park LLC .

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