Tearful David Beckham bids farewell to football at last match
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Paris Saint-Germain’s David Beckham breaks down in tears as he leaves the pitch after being substituted in the 81st minute during his team’s French Ligue 1 soccer match against Brest at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on Saturday.SD-Agencies
ALREADY crowned Ligue 1 champions, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) strolled to a 3-1 win against Brest in David Beckham’s final match before his retirement.
Beckham was given a rare start and wore the captain’s armband, along with a special pair of boots he designed himself with the names of each of his four kids and the shirt numbers he wore throughout his career. When he was subbed off in the 82nd minute, he was in tears as his 20-year career came to an end at the age of 38.
Though PSG still has one more match at Lorient, Beckham made it clear this would be his last. “I feel a lot of satisfaction and emotion,” Beckham said after the game. “Tonight is the end of my career for sure.”
Beckham assisted PSG’s second goal against Brest with one of his signature corner kicks, which Blaise Matuidi headed into the net. After the final whistle, Beckham returned to the pitch all smiles and his teammates tossed him into the air.
"I think over the years, when I’ve seen players retire — when you ask them about it, they always say ‘You know when you’re ready.’ And I think I know when I’m ready,” Beckham said after announcing his retirement earlier last week. “I think I’m ready. Obviously it’s a difficult decision because I still feel I can play at the top level — and still have done for the last six months. But I always secretly said to myself that I want to go out at the top.” He also joked that he knew it was time to retire “when [Lionel] Messi was running past me,” in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Though his celebrity transcended his sport because he married a Spice Girl, advertised products around the world and even became an underpants mogul, he always cared deeply about his soccer and it showed. “I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer,” Beckham says. And now he finishes his career with 10 domestic league titles in four different countries (a mark no other Englishman has reached), a record 115 caps for England and twice runner-up for the World Player of the Year award. If he was just in it for the money or the fame or swooning admirers, he wouldn’t have accomplished half of what he did. Nor would he have shed a tear as he came off the pitch for the last time.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice for PSG, taking his league tally this season to 29 goals, a personal best.
Former France forward Jean-Pierre Papin was the last player to hit 30 Ligue 1 goals in a season, for Olympique Marseille in 1989-90.
Most of the PSG players had dyed their hair red and blue and started the game brightly against Brest in front of a crowd of 44,983 that included Beckham’s wife Victoria and mother Sandra.
Ibrahimovic put Carlo Ancelotti’s team ahead after five minutes with a cross shot after collecting a through ball from Clement Chantome.
Matuidi then volleyed in Beckham’s corner before Ibrahimovic made it 3-0 from a splendid free kick on 36 minutes.
Charlison Benschop pulled one back for Brest with nine minutes left.
Beckham joined PSG in January and although he made a minimal impact on the team, he won praise as a great professional and a friendly teammate. “It was very emotional because of his career and the experience he brought to us,” said France center back Mamadou Sakho.
"He brought us his joie de vivre and his simplicity. He’s a very humble chap.”
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