Date: 15th March 2010 at 1:16pm
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The news broke that recovery from his Achilles tendon injury would take at least four months for David Beckham. That rules him out of the World Cup, his one big shining beacon of hope and I guess he suddenly sees the future as a desolate, bleak moor deprived of life.

Or maybe not but I would be surprised if his motivation for football was as high as ever. What could possibly sustain him on the road to recovery? Another season at LA Galaxy? Another campaign at an AC Milan side irresistibly going backwards?

He picked up the injury against Chievo and it’s somewhat fitting that the last game in which he was on the pitch at the final whistle was played at Old Trafford where he got an emotional reception which pushed him close to tears. It was wonderful to see such a legend at Old Trafford again and perhaps the football gods felt that it was the best way for him to say farewell to the sport.

I wanted Beckham to be there in South Africa, not because he can make a significant contribution to England’s cause but because he wanted to be there so badly. He would have deserved another shot at realizing his biggest ambition even though England’s hopes of winning the World Cup are very slim, with or without Beckham.

He must be devastated and nobody would be surprised if he decided to hang up his boots after this setback. But a player who always gave his all would have deserved to end it on his own terms. It’s been taken away from him but now his retirement can be a poignant moment: right after being involved in a great European night at Old Trafford.

That he was on the losing side should not take the gloss off the moment – surely now is the time to call it a day, not to risk a comeback which would probably allow him to play a few, more or less insignificant games. Our last memory of him could be the memory of Wednesday, the memory of how he applauded the fans of the club which made him the footballer and the global icon he is. Fitting, surely.