Video: Beckham to play for free in box-office PSG move
Published 01/02/2013 | 05:00
Beckham thrust himself back in the limelight on transfer deadline day, announcing he was joining the Qatari-backed French club and will donate his salary – believed to be worth a total of around £3m – to charity.
In an era of unprecedented greed in the game and on a day where clubs, players and agents traditionally obsess over money, such a selfless gesture from one of its biggest stars appeared too good to be true.
But a source close to Beckham, who is estimated to be worth in the region of £200m, insisted the player would receive no remuneration whatsoever, including signing-on fees or shares in his new club.
France is planning to introduce a 75pc rate on income tax but any Beckham earnings would not be subject to it unless he spent half of the year living in the country, something he would only do were he to extend his contract.
Beckham's decision to donate his salary – believed to be £150,000 per week – to a Parisien children's charity was only taken in recent days, hence he had yet to choose precisely who would benefit.
It is understood it is even possible the money could be shared between more than one charity.
"It's something exciting and something that I'm not sure has been done before," Beckham said.
"I'm very passionate about children and the charity side of things and so are the club. So we came together and it's something special."
Describing the sum as "huge", the midfielder added: "I'm very lucky to have achieved what I've achieved and earned what I've earned throughout my career."
If Beckham's announcement came as a shock, very little else did about his unveiling.
Mobbed as he arrived in Paris, he proved that – in the twilight of his glittering career – he is still one of the biggest box office draws in sport.
The frenzy that greeted him mirrored the speculation over precisely where he would end up after ending his five-year stay at Los Angeles Galaxy in December.
"I'm 37 years old and I got a lot of offers, more offers now than I've probably had in my career," he said after completing his medical at Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, where Princess Diana died.
"I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do, I can see the players that the club are bringing in.
"How much can I give? I have a lot of experience in the game: 37 years old, over 13 or 14 championship trophies throughout my career, played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, played with some of the best players in the world, and still being successful at 37 years old, and still being fit.
"I can run around, I can still play like I could play when I was 21 years old. I've not lost any of my pace because, to be honest, I've never really had a lot of pace."
Beckham's move reunited him with Italian Carlo Ancelotti, who he played under during one of this controversial loan spells at AC Milan and described as "one of the best managers that I've played for".
The former Manchester United star, who learnt Spanish during his four-year spell at Real Madrid, admitted he had not spoken French since school.
"I'm definitely going to have to brush up on it," he said, before attempting an awkward "Bonjour".
He could yet have an incentive to become more fluent, suggesting a longer association with his new club and their owners, who hail from 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
It is understood Beckham had been in talks with Paris Saint-Germain for months, having previously turned down a move there.
"We slightly brushed over it. A long-term partnership is what we have looked for," he said, admitting it would take him "a few weeks" to get back to peak fitness, having spent several days training with Arsenal.
"I don't know if it will be my last contract.
"People always speculate that it's going to be my last contract. But they've been doing that for a number of years and I continue to play and continue to sign new contracts.
"Right now, I want to continue to play for as long as possible.
"When I play football, it's never been about the biggest contract and the amount of money.
"It doesn't interest me. I want to play for the biggest teams. I want to play for with the best players. Luckily now, throughout my career, I've been able to do that.
"If I can continue to do that at the highest level then who knows?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)