Global media have spent the last 24 hours eulogizing (and in some cases, criticizing) David Beckham’s storied career after the iconic Englishman announced his retirement from
the game on Thursday.
The reaction in the U.S. was more mixed than elsewhere, with many pubs declaring Beckham’s six years in Major League Soccer a success. ESPN cited the league’s expansion and its improved attendance and player salary figures before and after his stint with the Los Angeles Galaxy. However, several opinion pieces pointed out that despite his global celebrity, the Englishman did not turn the U.S. into a soccer-mad country.
The New York Times, meanwhile, took a look back at Beckham’s prime, when then-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair interrupted a cabinet meeting to express his concern when the then-England captain broke his metatarsal before the 2002 World up.
In France, where Beckham currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, Le Parisien underlined the 38-year-old’s effect on the media, claiming the PSG midfielder has been mentioned in 42,000 news items since his arrival in January.
In Spain, Catalan paper Mundo Deportivo took a dig at Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in describing Beckham, himself a former Blanco, as “an excellent soccer diplomat…a perfect model of sporting celebrity. But without the vanity of having to remind us he was rich and handsome, like others." In Italy, where Beckham completed loan stints with AC Milan in 2009 and 2010, La Repubblica said, "Soccer is losing its last superstar. Perhaps the only one, because there are plenty of champions, but only one David Beckham."
And finally, in Germany, SportsBild focused—with a hint of irony—on Beckham’s last professional game, away to Brest on May 26th: "The fabled world career of England's soccer megastar ends on artificial turf in the French provinces."