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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Beckham quits as England captain
A tearful David Beckham
David Beckham has tears in his eyes after announcing his decision
David Beckham has decided to step down as England captain after holding the role for six years.

But the Real Madrid star does want to continue his international career.

Beckham revealed his decision at England's final news conference in Germany in the wake of their World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal.

The 31-year-old midfielder said: "I feel the time is right to pass on the armband as we enter a new era under new coach Steve McClaren."

Beckham was forced to leave the pitch against Portugal in the 52nd minute with an Achilles injury that will force him out of action for six weeks.

That England went on to lose the game on penalties made Beckham's announcement even more emotional.

It was England caretaker manager Peter Taylor who made him captain in 2000.

And Beckham was keen to thank the now Crystal Palace manager when he read from his prepared statement in Baden Baden on Sunday.

With tears in his eyes, the former Manchester United player said: "On 15 November 2000 Peter Taylor gave me the greatest honour of my career in making me the captain of England, fulfilling my childhood dream.

"It has been an honour 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 am extremely proud to have worn the armband and been captain of England and for that I will always be grateful

David Beckham

He said: "I came to this decision some time ago but I had hoped to announce it 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 realise.

David Beckham reads from a statement in front of a news conference
A tearful David Beckham reads his statement in front of the media

"I wish to thank all the players for their support during my time as captain, as well as Peter Taylor, Sven and all the coaches.

"I would also like to thank the press and, of course, all the England supporters who have both been great to me and my team-mates. I want them to know for me it has been an absolute honour.

"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."

Beckham was an important link between the players at this year's World Cup and manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

606 VIEW

And he led by example against Greece in 2001 when his curling last-gasp free-kick sent England to the 2002 World Cup finals, where they were beaten by Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Eriksson said of Beckham's decision: "He's been a very good captain and very proud to do the job.

"I was a bit surprised when he told me but you have to respect his decision.

"It is now Steve McClaren's job to decide on Beckham's successor. He has a lot of choices that are more than capable of doing the job. It is very much up to him."

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