Beckham scores a PR triumph in Paris

It’s what Victoria would have wanted. David Beckham’s football swansong will be played out in chic Paris. Happily Paris St-Germain have ambitious and rich Qatari owners only too glad to have the world’s most photographed footballer on their books for the next five months, even if he won’t be a first-team regular.

If, in the past, Beckham’s brilliance was all about his crossing and his free-kicks, these days his genius is for PR. At a time when France is debating the financial woes of French football, when PSG’s enormous riches are in stark contrast to the struggles of other clubs who have to sell all their best players overseas, Beckham immediately made his new club look philanthropic.

"I won't get any salary," he announced. "My salary will go towards a children's charity." With the owners among the world’s super-rich and Beckham among the world’s wealthiest sportsmen, it is hardly a big sacrifice, but it was smart PR. "It's one of the things we talked about at the start," he said. "I have been very fortunate through my career. I'm fortunate that I'm in the position I'm in. I thought it would be good to give it to a children's charity."

Beckham isn’t interested in a last payday, but he is keen to play a decent standard of football. That explains his reluctance to return to the UK, where he might have joined a mediocre Premier League club like West Ham or QPR. "It's never been about the biggest contract and the amount of money. That doesn't interest me. I want to play for the biggest teams, with the best players."

At 37, he is among the oldest players in the French league. "If I'm the elder statesman, I'm very proud of that," he said, pointing out that he had maintained his fitness. "I haven't lost pace because I never really had a lot of pace throughout my career, to be honest."

For the time being he will be staying in a hotel, probably the Ritz as that is where Victoria likes to stay for Paris fashion week. Beckham talked enthusiastically about the club’s "project". The only possible downside is PSG’s other star, the striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Zlatan is not a man who likes to be upstaged.

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