David Beckham joins Paris St-Germain and will play for free

 

David Beckham has joined French Ligue 1 side Paris St-Germain and announced he will be playing for free.

The ex-England midfielder, 37, signed a five-month deal and will donate his salary - of at least £1m - to charity.

"I'm excited, it's something we've been working on and talking about for quite a while," he said on Thursday.

Archive: Beckham's England highs and lows

"I won't receive any salary. My salary will go to a local children's charity. That's one of the things we are excited and proud to do."

He added: "It's something the guys [PSG management] do, but obviously it's a very good figure. That's one thing we're very excited about. To be able to give a huge sum to a children's charity in Paris is very special."

Beckham has been without a club since leaving MLS side LA Galaxy in December and has been training with Arsenal.

The former England captain had firm offers from 12 different clubs but has opted for Ligue 1's big spenders.

Despite recently announcing he was to permanently base his family in London, Beckham always said he would make a decision on his next move based on "footballing reasons".

PSG have spent more than £200m in the last 18 months and are managed by Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of AC Milan during Beckham's loan spell there. They are also still in this season's Champions League and will face Spanish side Valencia in the last 16.

How Beckham wooed Paris

  • Despite arriving late for his unveiling, Beckham looked relaxed and happy in his new surroundings as he addressed the media scrum.
  • Smartly dressed in suit and matching tie, the veteran of 115 England caps turned on the charm as he gave full answers to every question put to him.
  • Provoked laughs with his very first answer when asked about speaking French. "I'm definitely going to have to brush up on it," said the 37-year-old. "I haven't spoken French since I was at school."
  • The most revealing aspect of the news conference was that he is to donate his wages to a French children's charity.
  • With the news conference about to finish, Beckham insisted on answering questions from two journalists who had been trying to ask him about his move but had been continuously overlooked.

The Paris club are currently top of Ligue 1 and already have a squad that includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi.

"I was lucky to work with Carlo and Leonardo [director of football] for a few months," Beckham said. "Carlo was one of the best managers I've played for so it's exciting on a number of levels.

"[Ibrahimovic] is one of the players I'm excited to play alongside. Ibra was someone I've watched for many years, in my early days playing for England against Sweden, and I always felt he could be one of the best players in the world.

"I watched a lot of games last year and a lot of games this season. There's a lot of talent in this team."

Beckham, who made a record 115 outfield appearances for England, was part of the Manchester United side that famously beat Bayern Munich to win the 1999 Champions League.

He left Old Trafford for Real Madrid in 2003, before agreeing his move to LA Galaxy in January 2007 and making his debut for the club in August in that year.

He attracted criticism from some Galaxy fans after agreeing loan moves to AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 which meant missing some of the MLS season.

David Beckham timeline

  • 1975: Born Leytonstone, 2 May
  • 1991: Joins Manchester United as trainee
  • 2000: Named England captain
  • 2003: United accept a £25m bid from Real Madrid and he moves to the Spanish giants
  • 2006: Stands down as England captain
  • 2007: Beckham leaves Real Madrid for LA Galaxy on a five-year deal
  • 2009 and 2010: Has two separate loan spells at AC Milan
  • 2012 Confirms he is to leave the Galaxy after MLS Cup on 1 December
  • 2013 Joins Paris St-Germain on a five-month playing contract on 31 January

And he brought an end to his five-and-a-half-year spell in the United States on 2 December after winning the MLS Cup for the second time.

At PSG, Beckham will be hoping to win a league title in a fourth country, having already enjoyed success at Manchester United and Real Madrid in Europe before moving to Major League Soccer.

Beckham had been close to joining PSG last January but opted to stay in California for one more season.

"I don't know if this will be my last contract," Beckham said.

"People have been speculating about that for a number of years, but I continue to play and sign contracts. I will see how I feel but I want to play as long as possible. My passion is football. It always has been. When I play football it is not about the biggest contract."

He also revealed that his wife Victoria, 38, will stay in London along with his sons Brooklyn, 13, Romeo, 10, Cruz, seven, and their one-year-old daughter Harper.