• Ligue 1

Beckham in tears as career closes

ESPN staff
May 18, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

David Beckham rolled back the years with a vintage performance in what appeared to be the final match of a decorated career as Paris Saint-Germain celebrated their Ligue 1 title triumph with a routine 3-1 victory over already-relegated Brest.

Beckham announced he would retire at the end of this season in midweek and was handed the captain's armband before producing a performance worthy of his peak years, which included an assist, if not a goal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic threatened to overshadow the former England skipper's night with a brace in-between Blaise Matuidi's strike in the first half, but it was clear to see this evening belonged to Beckham.

There is an outside chance he will play in PSG's final match at Lorient next Sunday, but the 38-year-old made a perhaps telling emotional exit in the 82nd minute by hugging most of his team-mates to a standing ovation from all at the Parc des Princes before making way for Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Beckham was involved in the opening goal in the seventh minute. His free-kick found Clement Chantome, whose pass released Ibrahimovic as he broke into the penalty area down the right side. Ibrahimovic struck the ball into the opposite corner.

Ibrahimovic almost scored a minute later when Beckham's superb long pass sent him through, but the imposing Swede hesitated between heading the ball over goalkeeper Alexis Thebaux or taking it past him. Theabaux snatched the ball from him.

Beckham set up the second goal in the 32nd with a corner kick from the left. Matuidi's poorly hit ball bounced into the ground and looped over Thebaux's outstretched arm.

Mario Licka fouled Matuidi 25 yards from goal, and Beckham seemed destined to be given a chance to score.

Instead, Ibrahimovic stepped up and curled the free-kick round the wall and into the top corner for his 29th league goal of the season, with the former England international leaping into the striker's arms immediately afterwards.

Early in the second half, Beckham almost set up striker Kevin Gameiro with a curling cross from the right that the striker headed wide.

While Brest got the scoresheet in the 80th minute through Charlison Benschop, it paled into insignificance when Beckham was substituted.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder was struggling to hold back the tears as the PSG players came to pay their respects to him, with the game coming to a complete standstill.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was also seen wiping away a tear as Beckham was replaced by Lavezzi.

The rest of the match was conducted in a party-like atmosphere as PSG prepared to lift its first league crown since 1994.

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