WASHINGTON, D.C. January 31, 2013 — David Beckham, who won back-to-back titles with the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer, has joined French Ligue 1 club Paris St-Germain. Beckham announced he will be playing for free and donating his salary to a local childrens’ charity in Paris.
The former England midfielder, 37, who left the Galaxy at the end of last year after six seasons, has signed a five-month deal with the famed French club which will end on June 30.
“I’m excited. It’s something we’ve been working on and talking about for quite awhile,” said Beckham at a packed press conference on Paris on Thursday. Beckham will give away his reported $237,000 week salary to a charity that will help less-privileged children.
“I won’t receive any salary,” Beckham said. “My salary will go to a local children’s charity. That’s one of the things we are excited and proud to do….It’s something the guys [PSG management] do, but obviously it’s a very good figure. That’s one thing we’re very excited about. To be able to give a huge sum to a children’s charity in Paris is very special.”
Beckham has been a free agent since living the Galaxy and announced his move to PSG on the last day of the transfer window. According to the Daily Mail, Beckham had received offers from at least 12 clubs, including teams in China but opted to join the French club, which is flush with money and bankrolled by Qatar Investment Authority.
“I am very honored to have been picked to be part of the club,” Beckham said. “I am very excited. Why PSG? Every club I have played for throughout my career I have been successful with.”
Beckham, who started his career at Manchester United and won the 1999 Champions League with the team, said he could not play with another English club because of his loyalty to the Red Devils.
“I am very honored by the offers I had in England, but I wouldn’t have played there if it wasn’t for United,” Beckham said.
At PSG, Beckham will rejoin coach Carlo Ancelotti, who coached AC Milan when Beckham played there in in 2009 and 2010, on loan deals from the Galaxy. PSG is one of the richest clubs in the world and has spent over $300 million in the last 18 months in a quest to win a French title and ultimately the UEFA Champions League. PSG is currently in the last 16 of that tournament.
“Carlo was one of the best managers I’ve played for, so it’s exciting on a number of levels,” Beckham said.
Beckham, who has won titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Galaxy, will play alongside Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG. “[Ibrahimovic] is one of the players I’m excited to play alongside,” Beckham said.
“Ibra was someone I’ve watched for many years, in my early days playing for England against Sweden, and I always felt he could be one of the best players in the world.”
PSG currently leads the French league. Beckham is likely to make his league debut in PSG’s home game against Bastia on Feb. 8.
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon
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