- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)
International soccer star David Beckham has been passed over by his native Britain's soccer team during Olympic roster selections this week.
English football manager Stuart Pearce selected Beckham on his shortlist of 35 players, but not as part of the final 18-man team as one of three players over the age of 23 permitted to compete in the London Olympics.
"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," said Beckham in a statement Thursday, according to the Associated Press.
"Naturally I am very disappointed, but there will be no bigger supporter of the team than me," continued the 37-year-old athlete. "And like everyone, I will be hoping they can win the gold."
Many are surprised over the Olympic squad selections, as Beckham was widely expected to be a member on the British soccer team. The legendary athlete and husband to ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham played an essential role in earning the bid in 2005 to host the Games.
"As a Londoner, I will have been really proud to have played a small part in bringing the Olympics to my hometown as a part of Seb's (Sebastian Coe, Vice President of the International Association of Athletics Federations) team, and I can't wait for the Games to begin and enjoy every moment along with the rest of Great Britain," added Beckham.
Many soccer fans view the selection as a snub on behalf of Beckham.
On Twitter, user James wrote, "To ask David Beckham to give everything to winning the Olympics for London and then not picking him to take part is so disrespectful."
John posted, "David Beckham deserves to be in Team GB. Played a crucial part in the bid & least he'd be good at penalties! #pickbeckham"
"RT [retweet] if you think David Beckham should of [have] been included in the GB Olympic squad," wrote John, whose message was re-posted over 1,700 times within hours.
Beckham has played for teams that include Manchester United and served and England's captain during the 2006 World Cup. He remains one of the highest-paid athletes in the world, and continues to play soccer for the Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy.
The 2012 Olympic Games will be held from July 27 through August 12.