United, Re-United

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One final farewell to Beckham

From the sponsorships to the movie star lifestyle, David Beckham always seemed on the cusp of his career as a professional athlete being less important than his life on talk shows or in photoshoots. But looking back on his career that spans over two decades, the man had it (mostly) figured out. There were certainly highs and lows, but ultimately no one conquered football, and the world of sports at large, quite like David. As he walked off the pitch one last time, it’s clear how much he loved the game. [GIFs by Dale con Comba]

David Beckham, conquerer of nations, retires

By Anthony Lopopolo

For once, David Beckham had nowhere to go. There was nothing left to conquer. Winning in four different countries, this 38-year-old, though still capable, got the chance to depart the game as a winner, on his own terms.

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Beckham’s boots for his final game

David Beckham plays in the final match of his career today. As he heads into retirement, he carries the pride of Great Britain on his feet with adidas Predator LZs. Typical Becks.

Thanks for the memories, Becks

We could rattle off a list of all the achievements that David Beckham has won throughout the course of his career, but the truth is, you already know. From the free kicks to the H&M advertisements, David Beckham quickly became an ever-present, unrelenting force in sports and style, one of the first footballers to be embraced and recognized on such a global scale. And while some may maintain a cynical perspective on the trajectory Beckham’s career took, we here at AFR HQ will always remember his ability to transform a monotonous, insignificant match, into a spectacle.

As Becks hangs up his boots, here are some thoughts from the people who knew him best, his peers.

"David was different - he was a crosser of the ball, a passer of the ball, he was a joy to play with… He has probably been the most influential player out of England in transforming football. The impact he has had is enormous." - Gary Neville

"On the pitch, Beckham sees everything before everyone else." - Carlo Ancelotti

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What unfolds beyond Beckham in Paris

By Arthur James

Under the first impulsive tenure of ‘El Presidente’ Florentino Perez, Real Madrid pursued a business model as simple as it was flawed; they spent copious amounts of money bringing in globally established superstars. Further peppering with a combination of relatively underpaid home-grown and often under-appreciated teammates, Perez’ project became The Galácticos. Under the guidance of Club President Lorenzo Sanz, Real had won their 7th and 8th European Cups in 1998 and 2000 respectively. However, the appeal of Perez and his promise of ruthless spending in an effort to control the transfer market were such that Sanz and his two European Cups in three years lost out in the Club’s Presidential election of 2000.

The initial merit of domestic and continental success granted credence to this electoral surprise. In the summers of 2000, 2001 and 2002, Perez brought Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo to Madrid for a combined figure surpassing the 100 million pound mark. These players along with Raul, Roberto Carlos and Iker Casillas venerated the club to their Galactic status. However, while the first three seasons yielded two League titles and their ninth European Cup, the summer of 2003 offered Real Madrid their opportunity for the biggest seat at football’s economic table. While the six players mentioned exuded a global appeal matched by few, the perennial superstar of footballing fame came by the means of a 25 million pound Englishman. When you’re looking to build a team you can fork out top money for the best players and it can often yield expected results, however, if it is a brand you are looking to expand, then you need a David Beckham.

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Not you, David.

Ahead of St. Etienne’s match against PSG, it was announced that David Beckham - Paris St. Germain’s ambassador H&M model representative of the AARP newest addition - would be starting the match in the Rhone-Alps region of France.

With Beckhamania hitting France like a Zizou headbutt (too easy), St. Etienne’s fans had time to prepare a little banner showing their love for Beckham just before kickoff. The initial surprise of seeing “Beckham I Love You” from the club’s supporters was met with a resounding “ohhhh” a few minutes later as “Victoria” popped up to complete the tifo. [Images via. Posted by Eric]

Through Ryu’s Lens: Beckham rises in Paris, Marseille falls

It was the grand derby, Le Classique between Paris St Germain and Marseille. PSG hoped to extend their lead in Ligue 1, and were somewhat fortunate to come away with a cool 2-0 victory. Beckham finally made his debut in France, coming on for the final 15 minutes and playing a chip that would lead to Zlatan Ibrahimovic grabbing the second for the French giants. Ryu was in town to see the derby, as well as Beckhamania jumping right into Zlatan’s arms.

Interact with Ryu on twitter @Toksuede and explore his Flickr. Posted by Eric.

Bienvenue à Paris, Beckham

Words had been swirling everywhere from Australia to England to Qatar, but David Beckham has finally landed in France for a five-month stint with Paris Saint-Germain, the rising superpower in the capital.

The man has also decided to donate his PSG wages to a local charity for children in Paris while he’s in town. With the speculation ending, many are questioning whether or not the 37-year-old can still compete with the best in the world. After all, the decision to join PSG gives Beckham one last chance at the Champions League. So after conquering England, Spain, Italy, and America, a remarkable career continues…

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