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.
To mark the anniversary of United winning the Treble with a team that had academy products at the core, Made in Manchester is available for just £3 for today only. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.