English midfielder David Beckham signed a five-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain, the French league co-leader that has spent more on players than any other European soccer club since 2011.
Beckham was introduced to the media and fans in Paris yesterday after passing a medical exam. The former England national team captain said he had offers from all over the world, including clubs in the English Premier League before choosing PSG, which is tied with Lyon at the top of Ligue 1.
The club, backed by an investment arm of the Qatari government, has spent 250 million euros ($338 million) on players including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan and Argentine attacker Ezequiel Lavezzi from Napoli as it seeks to join the world’s elite.
“I chose Paris because I can see what the club is trying to do,” Beckham said. “I can see the club they are trying to bring in. I may only be signed until the end of the season, but I’m part of the plan to help this club grow, to help the French league to grow.”
The 37-year-old Beckham, who started his career at the Premier League’s Manchester United, had played for Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy since July 2007 and has been a free agent since his contract expired in December. He said he didn’t consider any other English teams because of his ties to Manchester.
PSG is managed by Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of AC Milan when Beckham played on loan with the Italian club. PSG is also still in Europe’s elite Champions League, where it will play Valencia in the round of 16 starting Feb. 12.
“For me, Carlo is one of the best managers I’ve played for,” Beckham said. “ It’s a bonus they’re in the Champions League. I haven’t played in the Champions League for quite a few years.”
Beckham is married to the former Spice Girls singer Victoria Beckham, who was known as Posh Spice. She’s a clothing designer and performed with the re-formed group for the London Olympics’ closing ceremony.
Beckham said his family will remain in London, where it moved after leaving Los Angeles. His salary, which wasn’t disclosed, will go to a yet-determined children’s charity in Paris.
“It’s a very good figure,” he said. “It’s one of the things we’re excited about, to give a huge sum to a children’s charity.”
Beckham, whose 115 appearances for England’s national team are a record for a non-goalkeeper, attracted attention from clubs worldwide after announcing in November he was leaving the Galaxy.
Beckham signed in July 1991 with Manchester United, and went on to win six Premier League titles, two F.A. Cups and the Champions League. He made his debut at age 17 in September 1992 against Brighton.
He joined Real Madrid in 2003 and helped that club to the Spanish League title before leaving four years later for Los Angeles, where he won two MLS titles. He spent time on loan at AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 during the MLS offseason.
“I’m not sure it’s my last contract,” Beckham said. “People have always speculated it’s my last contract and I’ve kept playing. I want to keep playing as long as possible. Football is my passion, it’s never been about the biggest contract. I’ve always wanted to play for the best teams and with the best players.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Gregory Viscusi in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org; Bob Bensch in London at email@example.com.
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