David Beckham: Tearful midfielder signs off with win in Paris

 

David Beckham left the pitch in tears as he completed the final home match of his 20-year career.

Paris St-Germain's game against Brest was briefly halted as Beckham, captain for the night, was substituted after 81 minutes, his team-mates congregating in the middle of the pitch to applaud him.

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PSG fans plead with David Beckham to stay

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said afterwards: "It's up to the coach but I think that will be David's last match."

PSG, who are already champions, won 3-1 against relegated Brest.

Reports before the match suggested Beckham will not be involved in his side's trip to Lorient on the season's final day.

After the game, he indicated he expected to be part of the PSG squad next Sunday but did not know whether he would play.

Analysis

After 81 minutes inside the Parc des Prince the substitutes' board was raised by the fourth official and the number 32 was displayed. Time had finally been called on a remarkable career. The 45,000 fans inside the stadium rose to chant his name one last time, while a tearful David Beckham was embraced by his teammates. And then came that longest of walks - not just from the pitch but from his life as a professional footballer. With wife Victoria and 24 family members in attendance - many sharing in his tears - Beckham signed off in traditional winning style. He departs the stage having transcended his sport in a way few others have. But all things must pass, even it seems the playing career of England's most-capped outfield player. We must now wait to see what he does next - a return to America and the chance to own an MLS team may prove tempting. But whatever he chooses to do, one thing is for sure - the world will be watching.

"I want to say thank you to everybody in Paris - to my team-mates, to the staff, to the fans," Beckham said as he addressed PSG supporters after the final whistle. "It's been very special to finish my career here. It could not have been any more special.

"I just feel that it's the right time [to retire]. I feel that I've achieved everything that I could in my career. I wanted to go out as a champion. I've finished my career in a team that has treated me like I've been here for 10 years.

"After 22 years of playing football I'm going to take a few months to enjoy time with my family."

Beckham, who was clearly emotional in the five minutes preceding his substitution, embraced manager Carlo Ancelotti as he made his way off the field to a standing ovation from supporters at the Parc des Princes.

After the game, the former England captain, watched by a crowd including wife Victoria and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was repeatedly thrown into the air by his team-mates.

The 38-year-old announced on Thursday that he was to finish his career at the end of the season, although it now appears doubtful that he will feature in his side's final fixture on 26 May.

He told Sky Sports: "There's a plastic pitch next weekend. I ruptured my Achilles a few years ago, so it's not great for it. Like I said, tonight was very special. I'll be part of the team next week. Whether I play or not, who knows?"

He added that being made captain was an honour he would treasure: "The manager called me in and said 'we've spoken to the players, it's the players' idea - we want to make you captain'. It's really special for an Englishman to be captain of PSG - especially on a night that meant so much to the club and the players.

"It was an amazing gesture and one I'll always be thankful for."

Beckham marked his last home appearance with a trademark assist, as his corner was volleyed into the net by Blaise Matuidi.

That was PSG's second goal, sandwiched between two strikes from Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Brest pulled one back through Charlison Benschop but never threatened a fight-back.