David Beckham, the world’s most famous footballer, whose spectacular career has spanned countries and continents, finally left the pitch for the last time on Saturday night, retiring after securing the Championship for Paris St. Germain after more than 20 years in the game.

The 38-year-old former England international, who was made captain for the night, was clearly emotional as he headed for the touchline on 81 minutes, receiving a standing ovation from the Parisian crowd, as well as his team mates who had congregated in the middle of the pitch to wish him farewell.

At the final whistle he was was tossed in the air in celebration by his teammates, while wife Victoria looked on. The game, which PSG won 3-1 against Brest, was a sideshow.

After the match Beckham addressed the crowd: "I want to say thank you to everybody in Paris - to my team-mates, to the staff, to the fans. It's been very special to finish my career here. It could not have been any more special.

beckham

Beckham bids farewell on a spectacular career

"I just feel that it's the right time. I feel that I've achieved everything that I could in my career. I wanted to go out as a champion. I've finished my career in a team that has treated me like I've been here for 10 years. After 22 years of playing football I'm going to take a few months to enjoy time with my family."

Debate has raged over the past week as to the substance of Beckham’s career – footballer, fashion brand or marketing icon? League titles in England, Spain, North America and now France, added to a Champions League winners medal and countless other trophies, should ensure the player’s legacy in the pantheon of footballing greats.

Even if he wasn’t quite in the league of his peers – Zidane and Scholes – it is unlikely football will ever see his like again.

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  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain throw David Beckham up into the air after the final whistle

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain throw David Beckham up into the air after the final whistle

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germian's David Beckham in action

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germian's David Beckham in action

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germian's David Beckham in action

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germian's David Beckham in action

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germian manager Carlo Ancelotti (left) and David Beckham

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham in action

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham (right) comes under pressure from Stade Brestois' Abel Khaled

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham (right) is substituted and shakes hands with manager Carlo Ancelotti

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham (right) is substituted and shakes hands with manager Carlo Ancelotti

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham (right) is substituted and shakes hands with manager Carlo Ancelotti

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's throw David Beckham up into the air after the final whistle

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain throw David Beckham up into the air after the final whistle

  • Paris Saint Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, hugs Paris Saint Germain's coach Carlo Ancelotti, as he leaves the field, during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain hopes to strike a deal with David Beckham in the next two weeks in which the former England captain will work with the French club after retirement, possibly in an ambassadorial role. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Paris Saint Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, center, hugs Paris Saint Germain's midfielder Lucas Da Silva from Brazil, prior to leave the field, as his teammate applaud him during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain hopes to strike a deal with David Beckham in the next two weeks in which the former England captain will work with the French club after retirement, possibly in an ambassadorial role. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Paris Saint Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, cries as he leaves the field, during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain hopes to strike a deal with David Beckham in the next two weeks in which the former England captain will work with the French club after retirement, possibly in an ambassadorial role. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Paris Saint Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, second from right, hugs Paris Saint Germain's midfielder Lucas Da Silva from Brazil, prior to leave the field, as his teammate applaud him during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain hopes to strike a deal with David Beckham in the next two weeks in which the former England captain will work with the French club after retirement, possibly in an ambassadorial role. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • Paris Saint Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, waves as he leaves the field, during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Paris Saint-Germain hopes to strike a deal with David Beckham in the next two weeks in which the former England captain will work with the French club after retirement, possibly in an ambassadorial role. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham is tossed in the air by his teammates at the end of their French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham celebrates with the Ligue One Trophy

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham reacts with the team's coach Carlo Ancelotti during his French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham waves to the crowd at the end of his team's French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham is tossed in the air by his teammates at the end of their French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • Soccer - Ligue 1 - Paris Saint Germain v Stade Brestois - Parc de Princes

    A general view of David Beckham's football boots with the date of his last game stitched into them

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham, left, along with teammates Lucas Da Silva, center, and Thiago Silva hold their trophy after winning their French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, watches supporters as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. This match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, left, celebrates PSG's French League One title with Lucas Da Silva from Brazil, center, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. This match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, smiles as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. This match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, brandishes the cup as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. . (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, brandishes the cup as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, center, waves at supporters surrounded by his sons, Brooklyn, second from left, Cruz, left, and Romeo James, right, as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham is tossed in the air by his teammates at the end of their French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, center, poses with the cup surrounded by his sons, Brooklyn, left, Cruz, second from left, and Romeo James, right, as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, sits on the sidelines after being substituted during his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement, against Brest, at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, left, and Lucas Da Silva from Brazil, right, celebrate PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was Beckham's final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's David Beckham waves to supporters at the end of his team's French League One soccer match against Brest, at Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. Beckham went out in a burst of fireworks and cheers Saturday in his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, waves to supporters as he celebrates PSG's French League One title, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • David Beckham

    Paris Saint-Germain's midfielder David Beckham from England, walks prior to the League trophy ceremony, at the Parc des Princes Stadium, in Paris, Saturday, May 18, 2013. The match was his final home game for Paris Saint-Germain before retirement. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham waves after a French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-BREST

    Paris Saint-Germain's English midfielder David Beckham waves after the French L1 football match between Paris St Germain and Brest on May 18, 2013 at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)