David Beckham waves to fans during the half-time break inacelebration soccer match between Manchester United and an EuropeXIto mark the 50th anniversary of Manchester United appearinginEuropean competition at Old Trafford in Manchester,northernEngland, March 13, 2007. [Reuters]Manchester United turnedDavidBeckham into an international star, and on Tuesday he bidanemotional farewell to Old Trafford before he leaves Europeansoccerfor the United States.
Beckham joined United in 1989 at 14, debuted the next year,andtransferred in 2003 to Real Madrid. He will join MajorLeagueSoccers Los Angeles Galaxy after his contract with theSpanishclub expires June 30.
The time I spent at this club was the best time in mywholefootball career, Beckham told the 74,000-sellout crowd athalftimeof a charity match.
Injury forced him to withdraw from a star-filled Europeansidethat faced United to celebrate the 50th anniversary of theEuropeanUnion and the Red Devils half century of play incontinentalsoccer.Man United won 4-3, getting two goals from WayneRooney andone each from Wes Brown and Cristiano Ronaldo. El-HadjiDioufscored twice for Europe and Florent Malouda had a goal.
Since he moved to Spain, the 31-year-old Beckham had returnedtothe stadium in northwest England as the captain ofEnglandsnational team but hadnt been able to personally thankUnited for14 years that brought the club many trophies.
Ive waited four years to actually come back and to actuallysaythank you to the fans and the people of the club, he said.
Beckham won six English Premier League titles and theEuropeanChampions League during his United career.
He told fans he was grateful for the strong support shown inhistoughest time after he was ejected during Englands World Cupmatchagainst Argentina in 1998.
I think I wouldnt have got through many things withoutthepeople in this stadium, he said.
On the field, he publicly supported United manager AlexFerguson,who struck Beckhams eye with a football boot on the eveof hisdeparture.
Everybody knows here that youve got the best manager intheworld at this club, he told the crowd to rapturousapplause.
United leads the Premier League by nine points and remainsincontention for the Champions League and The footballAssociationCup.
I think this team is going to be incredible, and I thinktheyregoing to go on and win many things, not just this yearbutthroughout many years to come, he said. So good luck andthankyou.
：满座（的），座无虚席，如：The concert was a sellout.（音乐会座无虚席。