UK & World News

  • 2 February 2013, 11:04

David Beckham Gets Warm Welcome In France

David Beckham's sudden arrival at Paris Saint-Germain has been warmly received by French media and sport alike.

Beckham joined the cash-rich club on Thursday and then surprised everyone by announcing he would donate his salary to a children's charity.

The 37-year-old turned down several other offers in his quest to win the championship with a fourth club after Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy.

Daily newspaper Le Parisien headlined with "PSG gives itself a royal gift", while Marseille-based La Provence said "Popstar David Beckham arrives to fanfare in Paris".

Le Monde's more sober headline - "David Beckham, English footballer, global brand" - reflected the mifdfielder's huge marketing appeal, evident on the Champs-Elysees where PSG's flagship club store is based.

Beckham's No. 32 shirt was placed in the front of the shop window on Friday, with the blue home strip alongside the red away strip and with "Beckham" beaming from the back of both jerseys.

"He wants to be part of our big project, and it was a big dream for us to see him arrive," PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi told RMC radio.

"David Beckham is a great professional and, off the pitch this represents a unique marketing bonus. David is David."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Beckham's arrival at PSG is a huge coup for Ligue 1 and will raise the profile of French football all over the world.

The former England captain had been training with Arsenal in a bid to maintain fitness before his move to the French capital.

"Beckham is a world brand and the eyes will be on him, and on PSG, therefore also on the French league while he is there," said Wenger.

But there was some scepticism as to why PSG, who are currently top of Ligue 1, have signed Beckham.

The club already has a star-studded squad and coach Carlo Ancelotti must somehow find room for another big player in his side.

"Ancelotti is in a delicate situation. He already has a squad. He already has problems to solve," former Marseille President Pape Diouf said.

"Did Ancelotti himself want Beckham to come or is it a well-elaborated marketing plan?"

Beckham will not join up with PSG until February 11, after the international break, which means he will miss their away game with Toulouse on Friday night.

He has signed a five-month contract but will apparently consider extending it on a rolling basis if the Qatar-owned club are interested in doing so ahead of next season.

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