He used to be the darling of the Stretford End, the Bernabeu, the England fans' favourite, accustomed to playing in front of thousands, with TV audiences running into millions, and a lifestyle to match. But now all of that is to end.
World football's most famous son has finally admitted defeat. He's been forced to admit he will have to play in poorly attended fixtures in front of perplexed crowds in a league weaker than the Toolstation second division. Yes, it's true. David Beckham is to follow in the footsteps of other famous prodigal sons: George Best, and Rodney March, and play, if that's a fitting description, in America.
How he will miss the roar of the crowds as he steps out on the artificial LA Galaxy surface to barely a ripple from the American fans who have heard little, if anything, for many years.
"I think I heard of him. Is he a soccer star?"
"Beck...ham? No. I never heard of him."
These are just two of the responses he can expect to hear when he swaps the turf of the Bernabeu for the gridiron.
But in a statement designed to counter claims that he's just doing it for money, Beckham said,
"I'm not doing it for the money."
No, what really lures Beckham, 43, is not his own happiness, but the happiness of his wife, Victoria (52). Looking forward to life in a new, exciting big foreign city in America, the likes of which they could only dream of from their humble abodes in strife-torn Britain of the eighties at the ages of 11 and 10 respectively, she said.
"I'm behind David all the way. No boss is going to treat my David like s**t. They can suck my-"
But the problems are only just starting for the Beckhams. First they have to find a house in this congested, smog-filled, choking, sprawling, dangerous, crime-filled, gang-dominated, sniper-infested, stalker, drive-by city. Not to mention the schools. And then there's the language barrier.
"We both learned a bit of American on holiday in LA, but I think the Spanish we learned in Spain will be most useful. I learned useful phrases such as, 'manonnio', 'refereeto', and 'bastardo'.
Where did it all go wrong for David?