British soccer star David Beckham, 38, announced his retirement from the sport in a Thursday statement.
"I'm thankful to PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) for giving me the opportunity to continue but I feel now is the right time to finish my career, playing at the highest level," said Beckham.
Forbes reports Beckham earned $50.6 million in 2012 - $44 million from endorsements and $6.5 million from playing - making him the highest-paid professional soccer player. Approximately $33 million came from multi-year deals with Adidas, Breitling, Coty, H&M and Sainsbury that will continue into his retirement.
One of the soccer star's memorable advertisements promoted underwear produced by H&M. The London Evening Standard in April credited the ads with an across-the-board boost to men's underwear sales in the U.K.
Beckham will also be pulling in millions as an ambassador hired to rehabilitate the image of the Chinese Super League and to promote British broadcaster BSkyB, Forbes notes, with the TV deal alone valued at around $30 million over five years.
Before joining PSG - where he donated his $1 million a month salary to charity - Beckham played five years with the Los Angeles Galaxy and before that four years with Real Madrid. For a decade beginning in 1993 he played for Manchester United.
"Nothing will ever completely replace playing the game I love, however I feel like I'm starting a new adventure and I'm genuinely excited about what lies ahead," Beckham said in his Thursday statement. "I'm fortunate to have been given many opportunities throughout my career and now I feel it's my time to give back."
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