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Reaction to David Beckham's retirement

England's David Beckham celebrates his goal against Azerbaijan in their group six World Cup qualifying soccer match at St. James' Park in Ne
England's David Beckham celebrates his goal against Azerbaijan in their group six World Cup qualifying soccer match at St. James' Park in Ne

LONDON (Reuters) - Reaction to former England captain David Beckham's announcement on Thursday that he is retiring at the end of the French league season:

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Gary Neville (former England, Manchester United team mate)

"I think he just feels like it's the right time. It's been a huge week really in terms of retirements. You think of last week with Paul Scholes and Sir Alex Ferguson - huge figures in English football over this last 20 years.

"It just feels as though he's taken it as far as he can, he wants to come back home... he's now got to the end of the road, he's finishing on a high at Paris St Germain.

"It does feel like it's the end of an era, the end of a generation.

"David was different - he was a crosser of the ball, a passer of the ball, he was a joy to play with... He has probably been the most influential player out of England in transforming football. The impact he has had is enormous."

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Roy Hodgson (England manager)

"He's had a glittering career, iconic status, and I wish him well in the future. A lot of people now will be offering him jobs which could take him away from football, but I'm hoping we can keep him. It's been a strange week for me seeing Rio Ferdinand retire, and not so long back John Terry, and now David Beckham, it does seem like the end of an era."

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Phil Neville (Former Manchester United and England defender)

"David Beckham - what an unbelievable career. Four titles in four countries, over 100 caps for England and the best ambassador this country has had."

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Gary Lineker (Former England striker and captain)

"David Beckham has retired. A wonderful player, global superstar and a magnificent ambassador for England and football."

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Sven-Goran Eriksson (former England manager)

"He was extremely professional in everything he was doing, and his right foot was not bad. He had many qualities and that is why he's David Beckham.

"A fantastic football player, a fantastic man, probably the biggest sports personality in the world. If you talk about David Beckham, all over the world they know who that it is. I don't think there is any other football player more popular than him.

"I remember all the matches with England and all the travelling - airports, hotels - and it was all about Beckham all the time. I rank him very, very highly. I never had any doubts about picking him."

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David Bernstein (FA chairman)

"In the week following Sir Alex Ferguson retiring, which came as a bit of a shock, now we have the iconic David Beckham coming out of the game.

"When you look at his playing and work for England, no one would ever accuse him of being unpatriotic and not giving everything for his country. He is a real loss to the game and I am sure the FA will want to embrace him and to get him closely associated with the organization."

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British Prime Minister David Cameron (through a spokesman)

"David Beckham has been an outstanding footballer throughout his career. Not only that he has been a brilliant ambassador for this country, not least if we remember all the work he did in helping us win London 2012.

"The Prime Minister's message would simply be to say, congratulations on a fantastic career."

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Terry Butcher (former England captain)

"He's been a fantastic ambassador for football not only in England but all around the world. Wherever he goes he catches the media attention and the fans' attention as well... the legs have gone lately but he's produced some fantastic memories for England."

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Steve McClaren (former England manager)

"He was a great player. He made the very most of his talents through sheer hard work and professionalism and always doing extra work on the training field. He inspired his team mates through his performances. He was a winner, he's won so many things in his career, and that was infectious on his team mates.

"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.

"And he was an inspiring personality to young players with his behavior and professionalism on and off the field. But ultimately he was a leader and people followed him."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin and Pritha Sarkar)

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