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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 09:17, July 03, 2006
David Beckham stands down as England captain
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David Beckham is standing down as England captain, but insists he wants to continue his international career.

"I have lived the dream, I'm extremely proud to have worn the armband and been captain of England, for that I will always be grateful," said the Real Madrid superstar at a new conference in England's training camp near Frankfurt.

The 31-year-old appeared tearful as he delivered a statement he wrote on Saturday night following the defeat to Portugal in the World Cup quarter-final.

"Having been captain for 58 of my 95 caps, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under Steve McClaren," said Beckham.

The Real Madrid player was appointed captain in 2000 and was an important link between the players and manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

He led by example against Greece in 2001, curling in a last-gasp free-kick to send England to the World Cup finals where they were defeated in the quarter-finals.

England could only reach the quarter-finals in Euro 2004 and defeat to Portugal in Germany marked the end of Eriksson's reign and Beckham's last match as skipper.

Following is text of the statement David Beckham read Sunday when announcing he was resigning as England captain:

"Before I begin, I just like to say that I've got a brief statement I'd like to read out and if you'd like to leave it at that for me, I'd be very happy. Bear with me because I wrote this late last night.

On November 15, 2000, Peter Taylor gave me the greatest honor of my career in making me captain of England and fulfilling my childhood dream. Now almost six years later, having been captain for 58 of my 95 caps, I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter in a new era under Steve McClaren.

It has been an honor and a privilege to have captained our country and I want to stress that I wish to continue to play for England and look forward to helping both the new captain and Steve McClaren in any way I can.

I came to this decision some time ago but I had hoped to announce on the back of a successful World Cup. Sadly, that wasn't to be. This decision has been the most difficult of my career to date. But after discussing it with my family and those closest to me, I feel the time is right.

Our performance during this World Cup has not been enough to progress further and both myself and all the players regret that and are hurt by that more than people realize. I wish to thank all the players for their support during my time as captain, as well Peter Taylor, Sven (Goran-Eriksson) and all the coaches.

I would also like to thank the press and of course the England supporters who have been both great to me and my teammates and I want them to know for me, it has been a definite honor. Finally, I have lived the dream, I am extremely proud to have worn the armband and been captain of England and for that, I will always be grateful.

Thank you very much."

Source: Xinhua

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