David Beckham is to quit Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the season - just months after signing a contract for a further year with the Major League Soccer side.
The 37-year-old former England captain has spent the past six years with the Galaxy, but will bow out following their championship game against Houston Dynamos on December 1.
But he paved the way for a return to the MLS in the future - as a club owner.
"I've had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy," Beckham said in a statement released by the team.
"However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.
"I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future."
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder is not likely to be short of offers once his time in the MLS comes to an end. He denied links with Australia's A-League at the weekend after Football Federation of Australia said preliminary talks had taken place.
Earlier this year Qatar-backed Paris Saint Germain made a move to sign Beckham, only for the player to opt for an extension to his deal with the Galaxy.
The player has scheduled a news conference for later today, to discuss his future in more detail.
"It will be discussed tomorrow," said Galaxy spokesman Justin Pearson. "Whether or not answers are there is unknown."
Beckham's stint in Los Angeles brought success in the form of the Galaxy's third MLS Cup crown last year.
But he also faced repeated criticism from some supporters, particularly early on in his stay, for a perceived lack of commitment to the cause.
Two loan stints at AC Milan, during the second of which he tore an Achilles tendon, as he attempted to keep his place in the England team did little to help that perception, as well as comments made while in Italy about the standard of football in America.
Two low points arrived back in 2009 when Beckham confronted a fan during a match after his every touch was booed and attracted criticism from teammate Landon Donovan.
Since then he has won over many supporters, in no small part due to a dramatic upturn in form over the last two seasons, and he was voted the league's best player by fans earlier this year, although his detractors still remain, particularly among the club's hard-core followers known as the LA Riot Squad.
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