Author: David Archer
Published: 11:02 01/02/2013
After over a year of negotiations, the Qatari Sports Investments owners of Paris Saint-Germain have finally signed global sporting star David Beckham into their super-expensive team. Beckham had been on the cusp of signing last year but he remained in the States to win the Major League Soccer Cup with his team Los Angeles Galaxy’s 3-1 win over Houston in December. The mid-fielder said “I still felt I had something to achieve in Los Angeles last year. So we ‘parked it’ and I accepted one more year in LA. I won another trophy there and that made it the right time to leave”.
Beckham acknowledges that his new five-month contract is in itself an achievement, however many games he plays for his new team; at the grand old age of 37, most players have already hung up their boots. He says “I’m very lucky…I chose Paris because I can see what the club is trying to do. I can see the players the club is bringing in…I’m very honoured to have been picked to be a part of the future of PSG – to help this club grown, to help the French league grow and to help this club become one of the biggest powerhouses in football”.
The club’s fans are impressed by Beckham’s decision to donate his reputed £170,000 wage packet to a local children’s charity, a most unusual decision in this era of stratospheric player wages. David Beckham’s marketing worth and brand reputation will surely soar as a result of his latest signing and this charitable donation. But the fans’ support will waiver if he fails to deliver on the pitch for his manager, Carlo Ancelotti (his former manager at AC Milan) and his exceptionally talented team-mates, including Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who in November encouraged Beckham to come to Paris.
PSG is still competing in the Champions League, although the next match with Valencia will be no walk-over, and Beckham says “To be at a club that’s in the Champions League is exciting for me. I’ve been lucky to win the Champions League once and know how important it is to the club”. Bookmaker bwin is not confident of PSG’s chances to win the Champions League, and reckons that the odds of Beckham lifting the trophy are a lengthy 29/1.
On the domestic front, PSG are engaged in a fierce tussle with Lyon and Marseille to retain pole position in Ligue 1, as they seek their first major title since 1994. Midfielder Joey Barton, on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers to Olympique de Marseille has cheekily tweeted to his million plus followers that Beckham will “be great for French football. Although he’ll remain 2nd best/best looking Englishman in France. That’ll hurt his confidence!” Barton, who controversially slammed Beckham last year for the Londoner’s advertising of underwear that he alleged were made in sweat shops, is likely to face Beckham on the pitch in the PSG-Marseille fixture on February 24.
If Beckham is able to regain his form following his recent training sessions with Arsenal, and delivers on the pitch, his five month contract may be extended. One of the UK's leading bookmakers, Ladbrokes, believes he will finish his career at PSG, offering odds of 4/6, but much will depend on his performances as No 32 in the squad. PSG club president Nasser Al-Hhelaifi is excited by Beckham’s arrival saying “I’m sure he will be an asset to the club. I’m sure we’ll win lots of things with David and I’m very happy…this is a big day. We’ve been after him for a long time and finally we did it”.