He’s enjoyed a lavish lifestyle for many years, and holds legendary status within circles of football fans the world over, but David Beckham has always been a class act.
The ex-England captain developed a well-earnt reputation throughout his career of fighting hard on the pitch, being modest and humble in victory, and gracious in the face of defeat.
After an illustrious career spanning the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, Beckham can now enjoy reflecting on both the best and worst times he faced as a player.
When asked to recall the thought process behind his decision to retire from football while playing for Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, Beckham once again spoke with admirable honesty.
The 44-year-old admitted that two Champions League legs against Barcelona - and one of their players in particular - prompted his decision to hang up his boots. No prizes for guessing who!
If all of the accolades he already has to his name weren’t enough, it seems that Lionel Messi can now also take credit for drawing the final curtain on David Beckham’s playing career.
As he has done so many times, Messi ran rings around the PSG midfield and defence across both legs and got himself on the scoresheet in the second, despite having a hamstring strain.
Beckham was into his mid-thirties when he faced 25-year-old Messi during that 2012-2013 Champions League campaign, and it seemed that his legs just couldn’t keep up any more.
As honest and humble as ever, Becks confirmed it in an interview a little while ago, as per the Sun. He admitted: "I probably decided to retire when Messi was running past me".
Speaking more recently to reporters in Argentina, Beckham elaborated: "We were ahead. [Messi] came on and Barcelona scored.
"Despite my age, I enjoyed playing and the team was good in both games. We did things to be proud of. We didn't lose to them."
The memory of facing Messi has remained clear in Beckham’s mind for years – it’s even spurred him to express his desire to sign the Argentine one day for his MLS club, Inter Miami.
He said: "As with any owner, you really want the best players and if we have the opportunity to bring in players like Cristiano or Leo...
"I have such admiration for them as athletes, if we could bring those players in then great."
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