David Beckham will miss the World Cup finals in South Africa after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Here we look back at how the former England captain rose from a Manchester United trainee to become one of the most famous sports personalities of all-time.
1975: Born Leytonstone, May 2.
1991: Joins Manchester United as trainee.
1992: Makes his debut for United against Brighton in the League Cup on September 23. Wins FA Youth Cup.
1993: Signs professional contract at Old Trafford.
1995: Joins Preston on loan in February and scored two goals in five games.
1996: Helps United win the double, collecting Premier League winners' medal and FA Cup winners' medal.
Scores goal of the season on the opening day at Wimbledon, lobbing goalkeeper Neil Sullivan from the halfway line. Makes his England debut in the 3-0 qualifying win in Moldova.
1997: Collects another championship winners' medal, voted PFA Young Player of the Year. United win Charity Shield.
1998: Scores first England goal, a free-kick against Colombia in Lens on June 26. Sent off in second round penalty shoot-out defeat against Argentina.
1999: Responds excellently to World Cup disgrace with consistently good performances for United, who win the Premier League, FA Cup and, memorably, the European Cup after coming from behind to beat Bayern Munich with two late goals.
Rewarded for a fine season by being voted runner-up in World Player of the Year awards, behind Brazilian Rivaldo.
2000: May: Collects his fourth championship winner's medal as United win the title by a record 18 points.
November: Made England captain for the November friendly with Italy in Turin by stand-in boss Peter Taylor.
2001: New England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson appoints Beckham as captain for his first match in charge, the friendly against Spain at Villa Park.
May: Collects another Premier League title with Manchester United.
October: Curls in a 25-yard last-minute free-kick against Greece at Old Trafford to earn England a 2-2 draw and send them into the World Cup finals.
December 9: Voted the BBC's 2001 Sport Personality of the Year.
2002: April - United confirm he will be out for between six to eight weeks with a broken metatarsal, which would mean him missing the rest of United's season and possibly the start of the World Cup.
May 11: Signs new three-year contract reported to be worth between £90,000 and £100,000 a week.
June 7: Beckham, who was able to lead England out for their opening World Cup match against Sweden, scores from the penalty spot against Argentina to seal a 1-0 win. England bow out in the quarter-finals at the hands of eventual winners Brazil.
2003: February - Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson accidentally kicks a boot into Beckham's face in frustration at United's FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, leaving the England skipper with a gash above his eye.
June 10: United accept a bid made by Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta for Beckham. Laporta made signing Beckham the cornerstone of his election campaign.
June 14: Awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to football.
June 17: United announce they have accepted a £25million bid from Real Madrid for Beckham and player agrees personal terms.
July 1: Passes medical with Real Madrid and signs four-year deal.
2004: June 24: Misses a penalty as England lose to Portugal in a shoot-out in the Euro 2004 quarter-finals in Lisbon.
2005: November: Captains England for 50th time in friendly against Argentina in Geneva.
2006: July 1: Substituted during England's World Cup quarter-final defeat by Portugal due to injury.
July 2: Stands down as England captain.
August 11: Dropped from squad for friendly against Greece, Steve McClaren's first match as manager.
2007: January 11: Beckham announces he will leave Real Madrid and join Major League Soccer club Los Angeles Galaxy on a five-year contract in August. The deal is believed to be worth £128million over the period.
January 13: Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello says Beckham will never play for the club again.
May 26: England manager Steve McClaren hands Beckham a shock recall for the matches against Brazil and Estonia.
June 17: Finally wins a trophy with Real Madrid as his side clinch the league title with a 3-1 win over Mallorca.
August 16: Beckham scores his first goal for Galaxy on his full debut in the SuperLiga semi-final meeting with DC United with a trademark free-kick.
2008: January 31: Left out of Fabio Capello's first England squad for the following week's friendly against Switzerland.
March 26: Wins 100th cap in the friendly international against France.
October 15: Wins his 107th cap in the 3-1 win over Belarus, overtaking Sir Bobby Charlton in the process and putting him third on England's all-time list.
October 30: Milan announce Beckham will join them on loan on January 7, 2009.
2009: January 11: Makes shock first start for Milan in 2-2 Serie A draw at Roma.
February 4: Announces he hopes to quit the Galaxy and stay with Milan.
February 7: After an impressive start to his career with the Italian team, named in Fabio Capello's squad to play Spain.
February 11: Comes on as a substitute against Spain to win his 108th cap and equal Bobby Moore's record for an outfield player.
February 14: Beckham is expected to return permanently to the Los Angeles Galaxy in March after it is reported that AC Milan have not made a satisfactory bid for the midfielder before the end of the Americans' deadline.
March 9: AC Milan announce that under a unique 'timeshare' agreement, Beckham will stay with them in Italy until the end of the season, return to the Galaxy from July to October and then rejoin the Serie A club for the rest of the 2009-10 campaign.
March 22: Beckham is named in the England squad to face Slovakia in a friendly and Ukraine in a World Cup Qualifier, putting him in line to break Moore's record with a 109th cap.
March 28: Comes on as a half-time substitute against Slovakia at Wembley to win his 109th cap and break Moore's record for an outfield player.
May 30: Denies speculation suggesting he will follow incoming Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti to Stamford Bridge.
May 31: Plays the final game of his initial spell with the Rossoneri in a 2-0 win at Fiorentina.
June 11: Insists there is "nothing definite" about his return to Milan.
July 2: Criticism emerges of Beckham's commitment to the Galaxy, voiced by club captain Landon Donovan in Grant Wahl's book 'The Beckham Experiment'. Beckham later refutes Donovan's accusations.
July 20, 27: Twice confronts fans who gave him a hostile reception in his first home games after returning to the Galaxy.
August 16: Sent off in Galaxy's 2-0 defeat to Seattle Sounders.
October 30: Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani claims the deal for Beckham's return "has been completed".
November 2: Milan officially confirm Beckham will return in January.
2010: Mar 10: Return to Old Trafford ends in a 4-0 Champions League defeat with AC Milan. Endears himself to United fans opposed to the Glazer regime by picking up a green and gold scarf as he leaves the pitch.
March 14: Tears his Achilles tendon in AC Milan's 1-0 win over Chievo, according to AC Milan coach Leonardo - an injury that will rule him out of the World Cup finals in South Africa.