Beckham tributes

Following the news David Beckham has called time on his glittering career, Sky Sports has been speaking to pundits and former team-mates and managers of the ex-England captain to get their take on his decision to retire and their thoughts on his achievements...

Last Updated: 17/05/13 at 11:28 Post Comment

Gary Neville - former Manchester United and England team-mate

"I think he just feels it's the right time. It's been a huge week in terms of retirements. Last week there was Ferguson and Paul Scholes - huge figures in English football over the last 20 years. And now we have another globally influential figure retiring. Beckham feels he's taken football as far as he can.

"In 1991 he came to Manchester and now he's got to the end of the road but he's ending on a high at PSG with another championship. That's four in four different countries, which is incredible."

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Steve McClaren - England manager 2006-07

"What an unbelievable career he's had, both on and off the field. I've been fortunate to work with some great players and he was one of them. He was a great player. He made the very most of his talents through sheer hard work, professionalism and always doing extra on the training field. He inspired his team-mates through his performances and he was a winner; he has won so many things through his career and that was infectious on his team-mates.

"He was very competitive and occasionally he went over the mark, but that's what winners do. He developed, he matured as he went along and he adapted his game, which you have to do playing for 20 years at the top level. He was a specialist in the right midfield position, an unbelievable passer, crosser and could score a range of goals as well.

"He was an inspiring personality to young players with his behaviour and his professionalism on and off the field. But ultimately he was a leader. People followed him and by the end of his career he was a fantastic ambassador, not just for football around the world, but also for our country and helping to bring major events here.

"Football will miss David Beckham on the field but I'm sure he'll still be a personality and a character off the field. My lasting memory of David Beckham is him continuously being the last off the training field and practicing those trademark free-kicks which won Manchester United, England and Real Madrid a lot of games."

Gordon McQueen, Manchester United 1978-85

"He's held in a really high esteem at Old Trafford and of course with England, as well. I think that was his two most successful spells in football, when he was playing at the top with England and at the top with Manchester United. He was a fantastic player and a fantastic ambassador. I felt that for the last three or four years possibly he's been a global celebrity superstar and it's not been about football. I think his career was on the slide when he left Manchester United; I know he went to Madrid and did alright and won the league, but when he went to America it was the beginning of the end.

"David Beckham is a one-off; he's a bigger star than most of the Hollywood movie stars and he's one of the biggest celebrity names not just in footballing terms but in the world and it's hard to imagine you could get that starting through football and playing for Manchester United. He's managed himself brilliantly."

Martin Tyler - Sky Sports commentator

"He is a celebrity and probably the most famous face in sport, but first and foremost he is a footballer and he has continued to be successful on the pitch even after leaving Manchester United, and to finish by winning Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain is a great way to end a fantastic career. You always think of his crossing but he was a better all-round footballer than he was given credit for - I had my doubts when he went to Real Madrid but he proved that he was a proper player in any climate, country or team - while he is a proper gentleman, too; he is very comfortable in the public eye but he has never been brash."

Charlie Nicholas - Sky Sports pundit

"I think he's been an absolute superstar. Forget about the Beckham brand, he gave every ounce of blood and guts when he was on a football field. Yes, he wasn't Lionel Messi or in the top 20 most skilful players in the world, but he brought honesty, commitment and style to every team he played for.

"He's been a credit to the game. I would have liked him to have been more ruthless with his comments as he took a lot of stick during his career and was never critical, but he's been a credit to himself and everything he's represented in football."

Terry Butcher - former England captain

"The name David Beckham generates great interest as he is a legend and an icon. He has been a fantastic ambassador for football, not only in England but all around the world; he is a fan's player and wherever he goes he captures the supporters' and media's attention. His legs may have gone lately but he produced some fantastic memories for England and that goal against Greece [to take England into the 2002 World Cup] sends shivers down my spine every time I think about it. He took responsibility as a footballer and is a great role model - and he was a pin-up for all the girls, too; my former Motherwell defender Stephen Craigan told me he had the most immaculate face of any man he had ever seen when he played for Northern Ireland against England a few years ago!"

Phil Thompson - Sky Sports pundit

"He's done so much for English football, right up until the very end. The greatest thing about David Beckham is his humility. You talk about role models for kids; he is the best example. It's been a pleasure to have watched him play for England and top clubs like Manchester United and Real Madrid. He always played with the same passion that he had when he first arrived on the scene."

Matt Le Tissier - Sky Sports pundit

"He's been an incredible servant and ambassador to English football. I wouldn't put him up there with the greatest English players of all time - there have been more talented footballers - but in terms of he's brought to the English game, both on and off the pitch, he's been absolutely superb. He kept himself in great shape and to be still playing at the age of 38 is a testament to that. He has been a superb professional."

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