PHIL NEVILLE believes David Beckham’s impact on the football pitch has been more important than his global profile as a superstar.
Beckham yesterday announced he will retire from playing at the end of the season after a short spell at Paris Saint Germain.
It will bring to an end a glittering career, which has included time at Manchester United – where he played alongside the outgoing Blues skipper – Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan.
And Neville, 36, who has not decided what his own future holds yet next season amid rumours he could be involved in Everton’s new coaching set-up, said: “We should be celebrating such a fantastic footballer, such a fantastic person and one who has been an unbelievable ambassador for this country, not just on the football field.
“David Beckham’s CV reads Manchester United, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Paris Saint Germain. They are the biggest clubs in world football.
“But it is on the football field where he should probably be best remembered.
“He has not just gone to these clubs and been a bit-part player. He has gone to these clubs and made an impact. He is a wonderful football player and he will be sadly missed.”
The tribute of Neville, who will end his Toffees playing career after Sunday’s visit to Stamford Bridge, were echoed by clubmate Tim Howard, another former Manchester United man.
“In America, it was the first time since Pele that people stood up, took notice, had a global icon on their doorstep and paid money to see him play,” he added.