The 38-year-old scored many vital, as well as spectacular goals, and here Press Association Sport assesses some of his most memorable contributions.
June 2006, England v Ecuador: Beckham became the first England player to score at three World Cups when he fired the national team into the quarter-finals in 2006. It had been a less than convincing World Cup by England and they were again thankful to Beckham, who stepped up for a free-kick on the left wing and somehow curled it over the wall and squeezed it inches inside the post despite the goalkeeper getting a hand on it.
April 2003, Man United v Real Madrid: The titans of Europe came together at Old Trafford again in what proved to be a truly memorable encounter. Beckham was left on the bench for 63 minutes with Real leading 3-2 thanks to a Ronaldo hat-trick. However, Beckham was introduced and within eight minutes hit a superb free-kick to drag United back into the game. He added a second inside the box but Real went through 6-5 on aggregate.
October 2001, England v Greece: England were trailing 2-1 going into injury-time of their World Cup qualifier at Old Trafford and Germany were heading for automatic qualification. The hosts won a free-kick 30 yards out and up stepped Beckham, blew his cheeks out and curled an unstoppable shot over the wall and into the net, leaving the goalkeeper flat-footed, to send England to the 2002 World Cup.
April 2000, Manchester United v Real Madrid: The European heavyweights met in the Champions League at Old Trafford. The first leg had ended 0-0 but Real were cruising after taking a 3-0 lead. However, Beckham gave the hosts some hope with 26 minutes left when he collected the ball outside the area, surged between two defenders and into the area where he passed another Real player before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the net.
June 1998, England v Colombia: Beckham's first goal for England, a trademark free-kick left the Colombia goalkeeper scrambling helplessly across the line as Glenn Hoddle's team won 2-0. However, it was a bitter-sweet World Cup for Beckham as he was later sent off against Argentina and returned to the sight of hanging effigies.
August 1996, Wimbledon v Manchester United: An iconic moment in Beckham's career. The midfielder served notice of what was ahead on the opening day of the 1996/97 season when he looked up and spotted Dons goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line. Audaciously, he executed a perfect lob which gave the back-pedalling keeper no chance as it dipped into the net.