Jan 31, 2013, 9:20 AM EDT
(Updated: 1:02 p.m. ET)
David Beckham, global soccer’s most iconic star of the last 20 years, will now wear the jersey of Paris Saint-Germain.
Beckham, 37, and the well-financed Parisian club held an introductory news conference late Thursday afternoon in France to formally announce the former England captain’s arrival at Parc des Princes. There, Beckham will seek to win a major title in a fourth different country.
The former LA Galaxy midfielder certainly has a chance at PSG to add another trophy or two to his personal collection; the club is neck-and-neck with Lyon for top spot in Ligue 1, France’s top division.
More importantly, this gets Beckham back onto the brightly lit UEFA Champions League stage. PSG is two weeks away from facing Spain’s Valencia in the first of a Champions League Round of 16 home-and-away clash.
Beckham has been looking for a new home since late November when, when he announced that his six-year relationship with Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy would terminate. Speculation in subsequent weeks had his final playing stop happening everywhere from Australia to China to clubs around the London neighborhood where Beckham grew up.
At Thursday’s introductory news conference, where Beckham revealed that his French language skills are fairly limited, the former Manchester United star said he would donate his salary to salary to a local Paris children’s charity.
“I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do,” Beckham said. “I can see who the club are trying to bring in. It’s an exciting city and now there’s a club that’s going to have a lot of success over the next 10, 20, 30 years. I’m very honored I’ve been picked to be part of the future of PSG.”
On the one hand, PSG always seemed in play as a potential destination; the once-famous club, recently reinforced through the heavy financing of new Qatari ownership, had offered Beckham a fat contract one year ago. Beckham seriously mulled the deal then but ultimately chose a return to the LA Galaxy for one more MLS campaign. The Galaxy won its second consecutive MLS Cup title on Dec. 1.
But right before MLS Cup late last Novemeber, PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti had pooh-poohed any guesswork that Beckham would land at Parc des Princes.
“We did not offer, good luck to him,” Ancelotti said flatly at the time, seeming to kick a bunch of dirt on this thing and bury it once and for all.
Beckham will certainly have a bunch of pricey talent around him at Parcs des Princes in southwest Paris. (The club may represent one of the world’s most beautiful cities, but the ground itself, ironically, is in a fairly pedestrian, bordering on “gritty,” area of Paris.)
PSG’s current roster includes one-of-a-kind striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Argentina’s Javier Pastore, Brazil’s Thiago Silva and several other well-known international names. So, unlike in Los Angeles, Beckham won’t be the star of the show. (Especially not with Ibrahimovic around, as this piece from England’s respected Guardian details.)
All totaled, PSG has spent more than $300 million over the last 18 months to fortify the club’s roster and make it a player again in French and European competition.
Beckham, who says he will continue to be an ambassador for American soccer, declined to say whether this would be the last playing stop on a professional career that began 20 years ago.
“People always speculate that it’ll be my last [playing contract] but they’ve done that for a number of years and I continue to play and sign new contracts,” he said.
Aug 4, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
Here are the latest rumors from around the PL.
Aug 4, 2015, 10:24 AM EDT
Blues boss hugely complimentary of the PL’s other big boys heading into the new season.
Aug 4, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Rog, Davo, Mustoe and Earle hang out in the panic room and preview the upcoming PL season.
Aug 4, 2015, 8:37 AM EDT
Eight years after a loan spell, Gradel returns to Bournemouth.
Aug 4, 2015, 7:45 AM EDT
Dutch club reach “agreement in outline” with Bundesliga side Bremen for AJ.
Aug 3, 2015, 9:28 PM EDT
Apparently Louis van Gaal really, really wants Gareth Bale on his team.
Aug 3, 2015, 7:55 PM EDT
Could the USMNT forward be thinking about a move to the Bundesliga?
Aug 3, 2015, 7:05 PM EDT
Bobby Zamora has returned to his old club 12 years after leaving, and Brighton fans couldn’t be more excited.
Aug 3, 2015, 6:20 PM EDT
Gonzalo Higuain won’t be leaving Napoli this summer, but he’s not impressed by the club’s feeble attempt at a contract extension.
Aug 3, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT
A massive blow to Juventus puts them on alert for midfield cover.
Aug 3, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
Liverpool has spent big for the second straight summer, but it appears the Reds may have learned a valuable lesson.
Aug 3, 2015, 3:48 PM EDT
Rafael’s rocky seven-year tenure with Manchester United is over as he heads to France.
Aug 3, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
Not a great deal has changed in the world of Premier League goalkeepers this offseason, but among the differences is a huge one: Petr Cech has moved from Chelsea to Arsenal.
Aug 3, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT
PST selects the strongest XI’s for each PL team ahead of the 2015-16 season. Let us know what you think.
Aug 3, 2015, 1:43 PM EDT
Ronaldo is not happy. Not at all.
Aug 3, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT
Forwards both left off Real’s Audi Cup squad after training ground injuries.
Aug 3, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
All of the latest gossip from around the PL, right here.
Aug 3, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT
Wenger and Mourinho’s feud continues, but should both manager’s bite the bullet and make up?
Aug 3, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT
PSG’s skipper Silva is risking the wrath of United’s fans around the globe.
Aug 3, 2015, 9:40 AM EDT
Real Madrid superstar is a baller on and off the pitch.
- Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Rose to Chelsea, Traore to Liverpool 0
- AZ Alkmaar agree to sell USMNT forward Aron Johannsson to Werder Bremen 0
- Premier League Goalkeeper preview: Who’s in our Top Five, and who switched clubs? 4
- Best starting lineups for all 20 Premier League teams – Do you agree? 9
- VIDEO: Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview: “Doesn’t give a ****” about FIFA 7
- VIDEO: Watch Arsene Wenger snub Jose Mourinho handshake. Who is in the wrong? 5