Tearful Becks bids farewell

Updated: 2013-05-20 07:41

By Agence France-Presse in Paris (China Daily)

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Tearful Becks bids farewell

Paris Saint-Germain players throw David Beckham in the air at the end of their team's French Ligue 1 match against Brest at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Saturday. Beckham broke down in tears after he was substituted in the 81st minute. Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

David Beckham bade a tearful farewell to Paris on Saturday as the former England star made his final home appearance for Ligue 1 champion Paris Saint-Germain before heading into retirement.

Last week, Beckham, 38, helped PSG to its first league title since 1994 with a win over Lyon, and then announced he would retire at the end of the season having captured a championship in a fourth different league after England, Spain and the United States.

"Thanks to everyone in Paris, to all of my teammates, the staff and fans," said Beckham, who was in floods of tears when he was substituted 10 minutes from the end of the 3-1 victory over relegated Brest.

"It's been very special to finish my career here."

PSG has one more game to play - at Lorient next weekend - but Saturday seems likely to be the last match for the former England skipper.

"Up to the coach, but basically, I think that will be the last match for him," PSG President Nasser al-Khelaifi told the BBC.

Beckham was made captain for the night for his farewell performance by coach Carlo Ancelotti.

When he left the pitch, he was warmly embraced by all of his teammates while the crowd accorded him a standing ovation.

When he reappeared for the presentation of the Ligue 1 trophy, he was draped in an English flag as a giant video screen paid a tribute which concluded with the words, 'Thank you, David'.

"I now want to enjoy time with my family. I have all the memories I need.

Tearful Becks bids farewell

"Paris has always been one of the world's most beautiful places for me. I am very sad to be leaving."

Appropriately, 'Spice Boy' Beckham was serenaded by the Beatles' hit Hello, Goodbye as a spectacular laser show pierced the Parc des Princes night.

On the pitch, Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice.

Beckham had a hand in the other PSG goal, his corner finding Blaise Matuidi as the former Manchester United star signed off with an assist while Charlison Benschop replied for Brest.

When Ancelotti withdrew him with 10 minutes remaining, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy star, watched by wife Victoria and his parents, was in tears.

Beckham may only have made barely a dozen appearances for PSG since joining on loan in January, yet his presence has spurred the club on, as well as giving the French game a huge shot in the arm in terms of publicity.

Elsewhere on Saturday, the kind of publicity the French game does not need again surfaced just a week after celebrations marking PSG's title success degenerated into violence which forced the cancellation of a gala dinner in the capital.

This time it was Lyon and Marseille fans who clashed in disturbances which left 16 people injured.

Lyon decried the troublemakers after "serious incidents" during the afternoon before Marseille's game in nearby Saint Etienne.

Lyon indicated on its official website that the club would seek to take legal action "in view of the seriousness of what has happened and the injuries".