PARIS — Never a stranger to the big stage, David Beckham was finally overwhelmed and reduced to tears as he went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement.
Fans chanted his name before the game, and they chanted some more when he was finished. There was an outpouring of hugs, cheers, song and congratulations — from teammates, opponents and even former president Nicolas Sarkozy.
“To end my career in front of a crowd like that, with players like that, it’s very special,” Beckham said, adding that emotions had already started overpowering him before he was taken off.
“It started about 20 minutes before that, to be honest. I started thinking and then, you know, I couldn’t concentrate by then, and it was difficult,” he said. “You know, you try to hold the emotion back because it is what it is, but it’s difficult.”
There also was some soccer to be played. And Beckham, appointed captain for the game, was involved in two of his team’s goals in a 3-1 victory over Brest.