Former England captain David Beckham signed for ambitious French league leaders Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday on a five-month contract which will see him donate his entire salary to a children’s charity. The 37- year- old midfielder — one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen with an estimated net worth of 190 million pounds — has been without a club since leaving LA Galaxy in 2012.
But after a day of fevered speculation, the ex- Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan star was unveiled by Qatari- owned PSG at a packed news conference after a routine medical at a city hospital.
“ I’m very lucky. I’m 37 and I got a lot of offers, probably more offers that I’ve ever had in my career.
I chose Paris because I can see what the club is trying to do, I can see the players the club’s bringing in,” said Beckham, whose deal runs until June 30.
“ It’s a club that’s going to have a lot of success in the next 10, 15, 20 years,” he added.
Father- of- four Beckham, whose family will remain in London, revealed that he would donate his salary during his time at PSG to a children’s charity.
Despite admitting that he does not expect to feature regularly in the starting line- up, the veteran believes he still has plenty to offer at the highest level.
“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, I’ve played for some of 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 and can still play like I was 21.”
France coach Didier Deschamps on Thursday said Beckham could provide a much-needed filip to Ligue 1, which lags other major European leagues for star power and this January has seen a glut of transfers to English clubs.
As a Manchester United player, Beckham was mobbed like a rockstar on visits to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand while in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, his distinctive mohawk hairdo sparked legions of imitators.
One Bangkok fan placed a sculpture of his idol in a Buddhist temple while a three-metre (10-foot) chocolate image of the Old Trafford playmaker was even created in Japan.
"He's more than a player. He's a brand, a pop star," said Leonardo in 2011 after making an initial approach to the player, who has a host of lucrative advertising and endorsement deals and is seen as much on on red carpets as in the corridors of power.
"He's a player whose personality goes beyond football like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It gives a greater visibilility to our championship internationally."
Former AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic was brought to PSG in the close season last year as the club spent more than 200 million euros on the transfer market but is one of the few players of undisputed world class in France's top division.
Beckham, capped 115 times for England -- a national record for an outfielder -- first came to prominence at Manchester United and in 1999 helped the club win the coveted "Treble" of the English Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League.
Renowned as a dead-ball specialist for the quality of his delivery from free-kicks and corners, Beckham rose through the ranks as one of a crop of talented young players including Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
He made his United debut aged 17 in 1992 and went on to win six Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the Champions League with the English giants.
His England debut came in 1996 and two years later he was sent off during a last 16 defeat by Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France, making him a brief hate figure for many England fans.
Beckham's relationship with United boss Alex Ferguson soured towards the end of his time in Manchester, with the veteran manager concerned about his increasingly high profile after his glitzy wedding to "Posh Spice" Victoria.
As recently as this week, Beckham -- a key figure in the successful bid to bring the Olympics to London last year -- has been training with Arsenal but the club's French manager, Arsene Wenger, insisted he had no intention of signing the player.