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TRANSCRIPT: GNev interviews Beckham after retirement announcement

Gary Neville: You’ve just announced your retirement. Why now?

David Beckham: I think over the years when I’ve seen players retire, when you ask them about it, they always say ‘you’ll know when you’re ready’. And I think I know when I’m ready. I think I’m ready. Obviously it’s a difficult decision because I still like I can play at the top level and still have done for the last six months. But I always 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 have said ‘absolutely no chance’. But I was given the opportunity to come to PSG and I just feel now is the time.

GN: You think or you know?

DB: I think. I love the game so much, you know how much we love the game, but I just feel… I dunno. It’s the right time, I believe it’s the right time. But I’ll always feel like I can do more, that’s the problem.

GN: When did that moment come? When did it hit you?

DB: Probably when Messi was running past me! No. I actually don’t know. I just feel I’ve been so lucky throughout my career, the fact that I’ve played for the clubs I’ve played for, the players that I’ve played with, all the trophies that I’ve won, playing in the MLS last season and winning the championship there, then coming to PSG and winning the French league here, I think it’s a good way to go out.

GN: You’ve always gone out on a high. At United winning the league, Madrid, LA Galaxy, is it important to you that you’ve left PSG as a winner?

DB: It’s every athlete’s dream, it’s every footballer’s dream to go out on the top, on top form or winning a trophy. It doesn’t happen that often. But I’ve lucky. Obviously, when I left United we won the league, when I left Madrid we won the league, leaving the Galaxy, we’d done two years of winning the championship there, and then obviously coming here and winning the league, it’s nice to go out like that. You’re leaving as a champion and that’s why I think it’s the right time.

GN: How do you want to be remembered?

DB: I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer, someone that’s passionate about the game and someone who every time I’ve stepped on the pitch I’ve given everything that I have, because that’s how I feel. I think over the years, my life and my career, people have looked at other things that have gone on, and sometimes I think that’s overshadowed what I’ve done on the pitch or what I’ve achieved. As much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does. 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, so it hurts when people 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 I’ve played for, played for my country 115 times, been runner up twice in the World Player of the Year, I’m very proud of that.

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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40 Comments

  1. WeAreUnited says:

    The Great DavidBeckham retires, the legend who never wanted to separate from United.

    The man behind my love towards United. Thank you for everything, a shame we never saw you back wearing our shirt but you WILL BE REMEMBERED!

    .DavidBeckham #7

  2. xyz says:

    Not a very insightful interview! But we sure could have used him in midfield this year….

  3. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Very pleased for Becks. An incredible footballer full stop.

    Only thing that would have kept him in it, and the real reason he went to PSG I feel, was to see if Roy Hodgson would pick him for England. I truly think that was his drive. When that light went out…. well. It is a great time to bow out. As a champion.

    Best right footed crosser from deep I ever saw. Ronaldo better on free kicks, but only just. Just a magnificent player.

    Runner up for the balon d’or in 1999.
    Ya baby, David Beckham was all that.

  4. Costas says:

    Godspeed.

  5. Sushi says:

    Christ…the fucking hype that was made about fat frank and his goal count

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2325488/Frank-Lampard-signs-new-year-deal-Chelsea.html

    You’d think hes the only player in the world ever to have scored 200 goals….fucking so tacky wtf is that???

  6. Kings says:

    Enjoy your retirement Becks. Thanks for the memories, especially the swing of your right boot (twice) which lead to the most magical 3 mins in the clubs history.

  7. Sparkz says:

    Scholesy’s my favourite player of all time, but Becks was the first footballer I idolised, posters on the wall and all sorts lol. Even went through a Mohican phase for a few weeks in 2002!

    Absolute legend IMO…think because of his showbiz lifestyle people underrate him as a footballer. There was a lot of things he couldn’t do, but the things he could – nobody did better. A magical right foot and unbelievable work rate as well.

    I also think that, like Rio – another flash Cockney – he hasn’t always got the credit he deserves from a section of Utd fans even (although with Rio that opinion seems to be changing now). A bit of a shame, coz he was magnificent for us.

  8. AntiScouser says:

    Legend. Good luck to him.

  9. Costas says:

    @Sparkz

    Any photos from that Mohican phase mate? :D I’d say that plenty of us that grew up watching the guy tried to emulate one of his hairstyles at some point!

    Agreed though. Definitely underrated because of the whole image he built for himself.

  10. mara says:

    David you are good footballer but you are more Spice Beckham. You were good when you played for United, but unitl then you are marketing mappet…

  11. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Wayne boy is thinking his feeling might be hurt. Awww
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/wayne-rooney-fears-manchester-united-1883942

  12. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Speaking of Wayne boy…..

    Check out the everton wall in this Becks Free kick! :lol: !

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tevC1WyUVaU

  13. samuel - united WE stand says:

    David beckham, generated a great brand outside football that certainly raised when compared with his actual ability.

  14. medumtum says:

    Absolutely magnificent player. One of the deadball greats. The Premier League really did miss his crosses, I actually rate him better than Ronaldo at freekicks (particularly the closer ones), too often Ronnie would just smash em against the wall. When we sold him thought it had been a mistake, but clearly (as usual) Sir Alex knew what he was doing. For him to be still playing (and winning) says a lot about his dedication and hunger. That was a special generation United nurtured. The fledgelings are all going now, only Giggs remains.

  15. A says:

    Sir Alex pushes Geoff Shreves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9bfcgARtXI

    What a legend!

  16. NBI Red Onion says:

    if u want to be remembered for football dont wear sarongs or your wifes underwear or prance around in mega billboards in your undies.

  17. Redneck says:

    Never had a problem with Becks. Cracking player for us, loved United as a boy and it showed in his displays. Stands a very good chance that if he hadn’t met posh that it would be United that he would be finishing his playing days with like Paul scholes. Don’t be put of by the of field bollocks and the celebrity hype because David Beckam in my opinion deserves to be remembered as a United great.

  18. nambuktu says:

    Is it just me or is GNev getting fatter each and every time I see him???

  19. samuel - united WE stand says:

    It sort of shows the massive difference between scholes and becks. Ginger technician of a footballer retires and never craved the limelight he actually deserved for the brilliant talent he possesses and then you get becks milking every drop of attention, rolling out all the big clubs he joined as some proof of being a footballing legend (yeah, as if shifting the sale of merchandise has nothing to do with that). Typical of his PR brand machine to pick the right time to retire (just as soon as fergie packed it in). Let’s be honest and i will stick to it, becks is fantastic at the business side. The image, the fashion catwalk e.t.c he has milked every penny out of every opportunity opened up to him and has worked hard to get everything out of his limited abilities but let’s be honest, he has been hyped up far beyond his actual productivity and ability, becks has kept himself in a limelight far more than pele, gotta admire him for that

  20. gazzer says:

    Pick a year – any year. Now think of the two best players in the world.
    If I pick some year in the early sixties perhaps you have Eusebio, pele, greaves, charlton, beckenbauer to choose from.
    Same goes for any other year. Even if we ignore Messi/Cristiano this year, you still have Bale/iniesta/VanPersie/Neuer/. No slouches there.
    Well Beckham came in the top two TWICE.
    That’s why I get tired of people talking about how average he was, could only take free kicks, was an over-achiever, etc etc.
    No, he was pretty damn good, and for a while there he was England’s talisman.
    Of course he should have stayed with us, but we’ve all made bigger mistakes than going off to play for Real Madrid.

  21. Red In Taipei says:

    Thanks and good luck to Becks – he’ll be “just” a fan like the rest of us now.
    Glad Giggs hasn’t retired yet – the list is already too long …
    Enjoy West Brom all you Reds fortunate to be at Fergie’s last game. 20.

  22. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Read an article earlier and the same method was ditched out, the fairytale justifying of his career. The accolades, the players and managers he he had merry fandango dances with, his childhood and work-ethic. Goodness me, this is not the issue here, the issue here is about his ability. He is a limited footballer, he has worked extremely hard to ilk out everything he could out of it. The crossing, freekicks have all got better due to relentless practising and for that, he can only be admires but talent wise, he’s no where near the brand of players he’s compared with, he grabs far more attention than both ronaldos (brazil & portugal), zidane, pele, rivaldo, ronaldinho, giggs, scholes, cantona, franz beckenbeaur, baggio, platini e.t.c, i could go on and on. He’s no where near or even close to these greats of the game, these are amongst the players that make football the beautiful game. Beckham is limited and has worked very hard to make the most out of it, he has made everything he possibly could out of the chances he has got but can we stop making him out to be a memorable legend of the game, he’ll be shipped alongside the many good players, not the greats.

    As for being an england talisman, don’t make me laugh. How does playing or captaining a nation that has been an overwhelming failure at international level a case to justify players’ abilities, bloody john terry captained england and that drained out any pedigree it might have had.

    No issue with becks, we’ll just like to see him classed amongst the real level he should be and not elevated beyond his abilities. The dull fsirytale justification for his abilities sums it up really, when raul gonzalez retires, it will be just about his footballing ability and nothing else.

  23. gazzer says:

    wow – john terry also came second in the voting for world player of the year???? I must have missed that. I was painting a picture!!!!! You have to take it in totality. The England talisman was only part of it.

    Sure, he’s not at the level of fat ronaldo or michael jordan, but neither is he at the level of robbie savage (who by the way was a damn fine player that provided pleasure to many of us). He’s definitely ahead of great players like Giggs, Viera, Shearer, Henry and others who DIDN’t make it to top two players of the year for two years.

    If you’re going to damn him with faint praise, then you’re going to have to disclose to me how fine you are at what YOU do.

  24. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    Legend, nuff said. Want to say more, but I’ve got everything drained out of me now. First Sir Alex, Scholes, now Becks? Really. 3 pivotal people in my life as a football fan and they all retire in a span of a week.

    Well Moyes could use an addition to the backroom staff! :D Pick up the phone Moyes.

    There’s one thing great about us, we’re such a family club, you know that even if players/managers/staff retire, they’ll still be working with us in some way or another.

  25. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    And, this is such a retarded thing, but i just feel wierd not saying the Sir. I always call Sir Alex, Sir Alex, and its kinda stuck with me that our manager needs the word ‘Sir’. Hope Moyes get some knighting on the way. Sir Moyes. Sounds good.

  26. Red In Taipei says:

    Well said gazzer. A lad who loved football and United and became a world superstar – deserves all the plaudits he gets. Hopefully some sort of role at United.

  27. samuel - united WE stand says:

    You call him fat but no english footballer will ever get close to the impact or accomplishments of so called “fat ronaldo”, robbie savage was the worst player to be heralded as a fergie fledgling, he epitomises why england fails at crunch times at the top level, the placing of emphasis on players with headless chicken style rather than class but that’s a matter for another day. Can’t speak for anyone else but awards or in becks case getting nominated for one (with the way some go on, you would think he won it) has no bearing on my view of a players’ ability, it definitely doesn’t influence it, so whilst you keep rolling that accolade out, i will refrain from discussing about it. However, what i can do is focus totally on beckham as a footballer, this has NOTHING to do with his shenanigans outside the realms of the pitch, i would say the likes of henry, giggs, vieira are far more talented and made more impact than him at the very highest level, they diminish david at every footballing level, i don’t even have to come out with reasons why but if i have to then i may, those three were real talismen of their teams and certainly have more of a case of being mentioned alongside the greats of the game (giggs is a great anyway).. I understand some enjoy the thrill of fueling the hype but i will never fall for it, i’ve watched becks enough times to conclude his limitation, he was and has never been a stand out FOOTBALLER, Maybe as an individual he grabbed attention with whatever action he came up with but looking from a footballing perspective, the hype do not merge with the ability. How should becks be remembered?, well.. A, good footballer, a hardworking one that maximised his limitation with incredible dedication and application, these are qualities also required to crack into the top, in some cases, talent is not enough and it can be said beckham falls into this group, i commend him for this but what i won’t do is be deceived by some fan craze on this shores trying to convince everyone he was world class, he was a very good footballer who gave himself every chance, he was no clarence seedorf or pirlo, he’s below the greats and should remain so.

    It’s NOT an issue against the man, it’s what we read and hear, he is simply isn’t the player he’s painted out to be as a PURE FOOTBALLER and i certainly won’t justify myself regarding that.

  28. Red Robin says:

    G Nev is the best pundit so far with his unbiased opinion and brilliant analysis. He is better than any ex Liverpool pundits like Allan Hansen or Lawrenson by country mile.

  29. Red Robin says:

    My comment above came as I watched this interview on youtube and the links of many clips of G Nev analysis on Sky.

    As for Beckham. One of many of Reds fave player and me included. His goal against Wimbledon’s Neil Sullivan is one of the best goal of the 90s. Brilliant goal!

  30. Jorge Curioso says:

    Most capped England outfielder ever. England captain. Single-handedly took England to the World Cup by grabbing the Greece match by the scruff of the neck, when everyone else was wilting. Twice runner up POTY. Trophy winner on four continents. Loved United and England. One of the hardest workers in training and on the pitch. Best crosser of the ball of his generation. One of the greatest English free-kick takers ever. And so forth.

    Yeah, right, not the player he’s cracked up to be.

    Legend.

  31. Jorge Curioso says:

    (Sorry, four countries, not continents)

  32. Mr C says:

    Top player, seriously underrated. DB gets a lot of grief for his high profile and chav missus. His heart was always at United. Happy retirement Becks.

  33. Mr C says:

    @ Samuel – in fairness neither Becks nor Scholesy got the credit as players they deserved. Both were fantastic players. With DB let’s not forget it was his stunning talent which was what brought him to attention in the first place , though eventually this became overshadowed by all the celebrity stuff. With Paul, it was his lack of interest in self publicity and the whole ‘Ingerlund’ crew which has perhaps caused his being underestimated so often.

    IMHO Paul Scholes was the best English player of the last 25 years . Period. What’s more he has has the medals to prove it.

  34. King Eric says:

    All the best Dave. He was a fucking great player for United. Best delivery of a ball I’ve seen. Top lad and thanks for the memories.

  35. King Eric says:

    Medemtum. Oh completely agree Becks’ free kicks were better than Ronnies.

  36. Sam says:

    David was a star for united, amazing player. When scholes eventually freed him up on the right, a top class delivery into the box was a mere formality. We took it for granted how good he was, and how invaluable he was to the way united played at the time. 145 assists for united in 10 years, 62 goals.

    Good luck David, hope to see you in an ambassadorial role with the club in the future.

  37. FletchTHEMAN says:

    Sam, Cheers mate.

    Stats actually bit more impressive than that. Your 62 probably limited to League games

    Becks had 85 goals for us in all competitions. 356 starts 394 total appearances. 10.6 years.

    Great player. Probably only just south of a legend for me because of the richness to choose from.
    But pretty close and defo a contender for my EPL era top XI.

    Laughable how all these pundits are all about Becks this week.
    Slagged him mercilessly while he was at United and as an England player.
    Arguably one of the top 5-6 best ever to pull on an england shirt.

  38. Jay says:

    Beckham gave it his all when he was at Manchester United if you watched him when he was at United there is no way you would say he is overrated. He bloody well deserves all the praise, wealth and fame he has. The mental strength and determination he has is highly admirable. When he received all the abuse because of the red card although England could of gone through if they had a decent penalty taker, I would of told England and its fans to fuck off. Despite his off field life he has always been a professional and in my eyes he will always be a legend.

  39. Sam says:

    Fletch – Cheers for the correction mate

  40. samuel - united WE stand says:

    Each one to his own, some can make him out to be as good as real legends of the game like garrincha and there are those that won’t ever be convinced, he was simply a good footballer that maximised his limitation, he was an hardworking athlete, his crossing and freekicks were very good as he practised more than most, dedicated more than most and in that sense, he has ripped the rewards of his work, his accolades and ability to gain everything out of a,well oiled brand cannot be underesrimated and for that, he can only respected but it’s there for those that want to see, he has been elevated to a status that cannot be justified by his actual footballing ability, there have been players both in the past and present that have made bigger impacts and have more of a case to be named real legends of the game yet these players are rarely seen hogging the limelight. What cannot be denied is becks is the golden boy of english football, the whiter than white, the man most aspire to be, the man can do no wrong and hey, i understand that concept but he wasn’t as good a footballer as he’s made out to be, he won’t be sitting in the archives of legends of the beautiful game, he simply is a footballer that got everything out of what he possibly could, he made more out of the little he had and increased the services he gave due to great work ethic but he should be classified under the real category he should be, the world cannot be fooled. I’m not taking credit from him, you get some desperately defending becks, this has nothing to do with him as an individual, i’m focused on his footballing ability and out of the last 50, he’s been one that has had not only his contributions on the pitch and ability blown way out of unimaginabe proportions, he’s certainly been the most marketable footballer.

    I don’t think there are similarities between him and scholes at all, paul has not only showcased his world class ability but also his consistency against the very best, never has he got the fan-mania behind him like becks and frank lampard seem to get, always did his job and seeked no limelight, paul scholes is a true legend of the game, he can stand tall alongside the likes of zinedine zidane, his true ability warranted such aclaim.

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