Former England soccer captain David Beckham said he hasn’t been selected for the Great Britain team at the London Olympics.
Beckham, 37, who worked on London’s successful pitch to stage the games, had been hoping to be one of three players aged more than 23 allowed in the 18-man squad.
“Everyone knows how much playing for my country has always meant to me, so I would have been honored to have been part of this unique Team GB squad,” Beckham said in an e-mailed statement. “Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me, and like everyone I will be hoping they can win the gold.”
Great Britain will field a men’s Olympic soccer team for the first time in 52 years, and a women’s team for the first time. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland normally have their own teams in international tournaments. The games start July 27.
Beckham, a former Manchester United and Real Madrid player, is now at the Los Angeles Galaxy. He played 115 times for England through 2010, more than any other player apart from goalkeeper Peter Shilton.
Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards are set to be the three “over-age” players to be named by team manager Stuart Pearce next week, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Beckham said today that as a Londoner he was “really proud” to have played a “small part” in bringing the games to his home town.
“I can’t wait for the games to begin and will enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain,” he added in the statement.
The Olympic soccer events will be held at six arenas including United’s Old Trafford, London’s Wembley Stadium and Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland.