David Beckham joins Paris St. Germain
David Beckham pledged to donate his salary to a children's charity Thursday after signing a five-month contract with French Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris-Saint Germain, the latest stop on his globe-trotting career.
The 37-year-old former England captain joined PSG after turning down several other offers and pledging to effectively play for free. He was presented Thursday at the French club's Parc des Princes stadium after passing his physical.
No financial details were given as to how much Beckham's salary would be or the name of the charity. Beckham said the decision was taken early Thursday morning.
"It's something I'm excited about and now it has finally happened," Beckham said during the news conference Thursday. "I am very lucky because I got more offers than I have probably had in my career, at my age. I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do. Now there is a club that is going to have a lot of success over the next 10, 15, 20 years. To be part of something with this growth is exciting to me."
Of his five-month contract, Beckham said he wants to help the club "grow" regardless of the length of his stay.
"I don't expect to come into this team and play in every single game. I don't expect to start. I have to work for that," he said. "It is a bonus they are in the Champions League. I've been lucky to win it in the past and I know how important it is for clubs."
Beckham said he was not sure when he would make his debut with the club.
"I don't' know. This literally all happened at 1 a.m. this morning and it was only finalized at 11 a.m. this morning," he said. "I've been training at Arsenal so it won't take me long to get up to speed. I definitely won't be ready next Friday but in a few weeks. No matter what my age, I still feel 21 most days."
The Qatari-owned Ligue 1 club has been the highest-spending club in Europe in the past year. Beckham said he will donate a "huge sum" of his salary to a children's charity in Paris.
On his Facebook page, Beckham posted a photo of himself with the comment: "On way to Paris, excited. I will update you all later."
The 37-year-old former Manchester United star had been considering offers from clubs around the world after leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy in December to end a six-year stint in Major League Soccer.
PSG is in the Champions League knockout stage, which gives Beckham the prospect of winning a league title in a fourth country. The club faces Valencia on Feb. 12 and March 6.
Beckham joins a roster of international stars accumulated by PSG over the past two years, since the Qatari investment company bought a majority share in the club in May 2011.
The team includes Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who leads Ligue 1 with 19 goals), Brazil's Thiago Silva and Lucas, and Argentina's Ezequiel Lavezzi. Those four were bought last summer for a total of $140 million.
PSG currently leads French Ligue 1, in search of the club's first league title in 19 years.
David Beckham skyrocketed to fame at Manchester United, where he debuted in 1992 at age 17. He won six Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies and the 1999 Champions League as part of United's famed treble-winning side.
In the summer of 2003, he transferred to Real Madrid for $41 million. After falling out of favor and failing to win a league title in his first three seasons, Beckham finished well, playing his way back into the starting lineup as Madrid won La Liga in 2007, clinching the title in Beckham's final match.
In January of 2007, Beckham announced he was heading to Los Angeles. After signing a contract with a total value of $250 million, he and the Galaxy failed to make the playoffs his first two seasons. But they reached the MLS Cup in three of his last four years, winning titles by beating Houston in 2011 and 2012.
Forbes said Beckham earned $46 million from salary ($4 million with the LA Galaxy) and endorsements in 2012, ranking him 35th on the Forbes Celebrity 100 List as the world's highest-earning soccer player.
Information from The Associated Press, Press Association and ESPN Stats & Info was used in this report.