Emotional Beckham: “Now is the time to retire”

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After announcing his retirement this afternoon, the soccer world is reflecting on David Beckham’s decision to stop playing the beautiful game.

So who better to hear from…than the man himself.

In an exclusive interview with British broadcasters, Beckham sat down in his Paris hotel room this afternoon to chat with former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville — who also happens to be one of his closest friends — to discuss his entire career.

First up, why now?

“I think over the years when I’ve seen players retire when you ask them about it, they say ‘you will know when you’re ready.’ And I think I am ready,” Beckham said. “Obviously it is a difficult decisions. Because I still feel that I can play at the top level, and I still have done for the last six months. But I always secretly said to myself that I want to go out at the top. If you had said to me eight months ago that I would be playing in the French League and winning the French League I would have probably said absolutely no chance. But I was given the opportunity to come to PSG. And I just feel now is the time.”

(More: Who had the bigger impact on U.S. soccer, Beckham or Pele?)

Beckham repeatedly said “I think this is the right time,” in the interview with Sky Sports, so Neville pushed him and asked “Do you think or do you know this is the right time to retire?”

“I think. I love the game so much. I just feel that. I don’t know. It is the right time. I believe it is the right time. But I always feel like I can do more, that’s the problem,” Beckham laughed.

Then Beckham revealed the moment when he realized he should retire.

“I think it came when I saw Messi running past me when we played Barcelona! I don’t know. I have been so lucky throughout my career. The fact that I have played for the clubs that I have played for, with the players I have played with, won the trophies that I’ve won. Playing in MLS last year winning the championship their and then coming to PSG and winning the French league here, I think it is a good way to go out.”

(More: Beckham’s Most memorable moments on the world stage)

Of course Beckham has always gone out on top, wherever he has been. He has won trophies in his final games for United, Real Madrid, LA and now PSG. So, yeah, might as well go out on top, Becks.

“It is every athlete’s dream, every footballers dream to go out on the top form or winning a trophy,” Beckham said. “It doesn’t happen that often. I’ve been lucky. It’s written. It’s simple, your leaving as a champion. I think that’s why I am going out at the right time.”

(More: Beckham’s five most memorable moments in U.S. soccer)

Beckham then touched on his legacy, what he wanted to be remembered as and he spoke of his annoyance that sometimes people forgot what he does on the pitch and instead focus on his off-field activities.

“I just want people to see me as a hard-working footballer. As someone that is passionate about the game and someone that every time I’ve stepped on the pitch I’ve given everything I have. That’s how I look back on it and hope people will see me,” Beckham said. “Over the years of my life and my career, people have looked at certain other things that have gone on throughout my career and I think sometimes that has overshadowed what I have done on the pitch or achieved on the pitch. As much as I say that doesn’t hurt me, of course it does. At the end of the day I am a footballer who has achieved almost everything in football, of course it hurts when people, not question you, but think about other things.”

Finally the 38-year-old midfielder, who has become the most recognizable soccer star on the planet during his sparkling career, summed up the end of his playing days with a tear in his eye and a wry smile.

“To come to the end of my career now and look back and say I’ve achieved everything with every club that I’ve played for. Played for my country 100 times, been runner-up twice for world player of the year to two amazing footballers, I am very proud of that.”

PHOTOS: The life and times of Beckham

Watch Live: Five Premier League games at 10am ET

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Five Premier League games are coming your way at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday and you can watch them all live online.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Huddersfield host Man United, Burnley head to Man City, Stoke welcome Bournemouth, Crystal Palace are off to Newcastle and Swansea do battle with Leicester.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for all five games at 10 a.m. ET is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


10 a.m. ET: Huddersfield vs. Man United – NBCSN [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Man City vs. Burnley – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Newcastle vs. Crystal Palace – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Stoke City vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM
10 a.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]

Chelsea 4-2 Watford: Blues launch superb comeback

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  • Chelsea score two late goals towin
  • Watford led 2-1 with 71 minutes gone
  • Azpilicueta grabs winner in 87th minute

The pressure eased slightly on Antonio Conte as Chelsea fought back from 2-1 down to beat Watford 4-2 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea took the lead through Pedro but Watford came surging back with Abdoulaye Doucoure equalizing and Roberto Pereyra putting them ahead either side of half time.

Richarlison had two glorious chances to extend Watford’s lead further but Michy Batshuayi jumped off the bench to make it 2-2 and Cesar Azpilicueta made it 3-2 late on before Batshuayi added another in stoppage time.

Cue relief around Stamford Bridge as Conte  jumped in with the fans to celebrate as for most of the game his team looked like they were heading for three-straight PL defeats for the first time since October 2015.

With the win Chelsea move on to 16 points for the season and jump ahead of Marco Silva‘s Watford into fourth place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]  

After an even start where Watford threatened on the break, Chelsea started to look dangerous down their right and Eden Hazard won a controversial corner kick which shouldn’t have been awarded as the ball came off his heel last.

From that corner it was played short to Pedro on the edge of the box and the Spaniard curled home a stunning effort off the far post and into the far corner. 1-0 to Chelsea as relief spread around Stamford Bridge.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Chelsea then wasted a glorious chance as Hazard danced free of Tom Cleverley and played in Alvaro Morata who found Cesc Fabregas in acres of space but his chipped effort was tame and Heurelho Gomes saved easily.

Richarlison was causing problems down the left flank as Watford tried to get back into the game but it was Chelsea who came close to going 2-0 up as Pedro flashed a low effort just wide of the post. Fabregas smashed a shot on goal which Gomes saved well but right on half time Watford equalized through Doucoure.

Jose Holebas’ long throw caused havoc and the ball dropped to Doucoure who squeezed home his effort at the near post. 1-1.

Game on.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

A lively start to the second half saw both Chelsea and Watford go close with crosses flying into the box and Watford should have gone 2-1 up with Richarlison somehow missing from a few yards out. A true miss of the season contender.

The Brazilian winger made amends for his miss moments later as he played in Pereyra to slot home. 2-1 to Watford.

With Chelsea’s defense all over the place it should have been 3-1 to Watford as Richarlison sent a header horribly wide from close range with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ] 

The chances kept coming for Watford as Richarlison was a nuisance and the Hornets looked more likely to extend their lead than Chelsea grabbing an equalizer.

Batshuayi was then introduced off the bench and he flicked home a header from Pedro’s cross to make it 2-2 and the Belgian went close on two other occasions as Chelsea pushed for a winner. Conte got his substitutions spot on as another sub, Davide Zappacosta, helped set up two attacks and the latter saw the home side seal victory.

Azpilicueta was the hero for Chelsea a few minutes from normal time as he arrived at the back post to nod home to make it 3-2 and then Batshuayi scored again in stoppage time to complete a hugely impressive comeback.

Some of the pressure on Conte is dissipating.

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs: