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article imageSoccer: French Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain land David Beckham

By Robert Myles     Jan 31, 2013 in Sports
Paris - Former England star David Beckham finally made a return to European football this afternoon when it was confirmed that 37 year old Beckham had signed for French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint Germain.
Beckham had travelled to the French capital for a medical and when the announcement was made at a press conference this afternoon that he had signed for Paris club PSG, it confirmed the worst kept secret in French football.
Interviewed by French sports daily, L’Equipe, when asked why he had plumped for Paris Saint Germain (PSG) with so many other clubs chasing his signature, Beckham responded, “I came to Paris for the project. This is a club that could be successful for 10, 15 or 20 years. I’m not saying I’ll be here for 10, 15 or 20 years but I’m really happy to be part of this project. The city is also wonderful.”
At a packed press conference at PSG's Parc des Princes stadium Beckham said, "I chose here because I can see what the club are trying to do, the players they're bringing in."
Asked why he had not considered a return to the English Premiership, Beckham replied, “I’ve always said that I will not play for any English club other than Manchester United. I didn’t want to play anywhere else.”
Beckham had been playing his football with LA Galaxy in the North American Major Soccer League since joining the Los Angeles side in 2007. His contract with the Californian side ended in December 2012 and since then, Beckham has maintained peak fitness training with English Premiership club, Arsenal.
Following his being out of contract with LA Galaxy, Beckham had received offers from 12 different clubs, reports BBC Sport. Undoubtedly, there are bigger names on the European scene that he could have signed for but PSG, having spent over £200 million on new signings over the past 18 months, have demonstrated their ambition to be mentioned in the same breath as Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Manchester United before too long. At PSG, Beckham will also renew his acquaintance with the PSG technical staff comprising head coach Carlo Ancelotti and director of football Leonardo. Both Ancelotti and Leonardo were managing A.C. Milan when David Beckham spent two spells on loan to the Italian club 2009 and 2010.
Beckham has signed for PSG for an initial 5 month period which will see him compete in leading the Paris club’s charge for the French title — they currently sit atop Ligue 1 but are ahead only on goal difference from Olympique Lyonnais and three points clear of their great rivals Olympique de Marseille. Beckham also has the chance of glory in the European Champions League where PSG are through to the knockout stages. They play away to Spanish side Valencia in the first of two legs on February 12.
One of the unusual features of David Beckham’s contract with PSG is that he will play for free. Beckham will donate his entire salary to a local children’s charity in a move sure to make him popular with PSG fans. At this afternoon's press conference, Beckham said, “I won't receive any salary, we have decided my salary will go towards a local children's charity in Paris and that is one of the things we are very excited and proud to do…I am very lucky to have earned what I have earned throughout my career."
Parc de Princes in Paris  Home of Paris Saint Germain (PSG)
Parc de Princes in Paris, Home of Paris Saint Germain (PSG)
Wikimedia Commons
Beckham joins a host of big name signings at PSG’s Parc des Princes Paris base, most notably Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimović. Under the stewardship of the Qatar Investment Authority, money appears to be no object for PSG. They are reputed to have paid AC Milan €20 million when Ibrahimović made the move to the French capital in July last year. Later that summer, the Qatar Investment Authority bought out the remaining minority stakes.
PSG fans will be hoping the arrival of David Beckham will bring to an end the Paris club’s slim pickings on the honours front. Although PSG have lifted the French Cup three times since the turn of the millennium, it's almost 20 years since they last won the Ligue 1 title in season 1993/94.
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