In the midst of the chaos of transfer deadline day, you might not think that a club already oozing high-priced talent signing a 37-year-old midfielder warrant much more than a passing mention. But when that 37-year-old midfielder is David Beckham and that club is Paris Saint-Germain, the news becomes the biggest spectacle of the day.
In a press conference scheduled for maximum exposure and broadcast live on the internet in the final hours of the January transfer window, Beckham was unveiled in Paris two days after training with Arsenal to work on his fitness (and pose for some pictures). But before you can wonder whether this was all for show and a carefully plotted marketing scheme since Beckham has been without a club since leaving the LA Galaxy after winning his second straight MLS Cup in December and PSG have been interested in him since 2011, Beckham announced he would make the ultimate gesture by donating all of his wages -- worth £150,000 ($237,825) a week, according to the Daily Mail -- for the duration of his brief five-month contract to a Parisian children's charity.
Said Beckham (via the Guardian):
"We've decided on something that's quite unique," he said. "Throughout this time now I won't receive any salary: we've decided my salary will go towards a local children's charity in Paris, and that's one of the things we're very excited and proud to do.
"It's something I'm not sure has been done before, but I'm passionate about children and the charity, so we came together and it's something special."
It's a wonderful gesture and one you don't see many athletes (or anyone else) -- even the ones as fabulously wealthy as Beckham -- ever doing. And after already winning over the public in Manchester, Madrid, Los Angeles and Milan, it's a great way to ensure he does the same in Paris whether he plays well or not. Beckham's final season in MLS was also the most productive of his six in the league, so he could still make something of a contribution to PSG on the pitch. But this short playing contract could only be the beginning of what he does for PSG.
"I don't see that it's a short-term contract. It might be a short-term project for me playing, but there's a lot happening at this club with these owners. I might have only signed until the end of the season, but I consider myself to be part of the future of this club: in helping this club to grow and the French league to grow, and to help this club become one of the biggest powerhouses in football."
So, five months to sell a ton of shirts and then perhaps a position in the marketing department to follow? Only time and David's brand management team can tell.
"He's more than a player. A brand, a pop star," said Leonardo, PSG's director of football, in 2011.
Here's the splash page on PSG's official website. David Beckham is bigger than the Eiffel Tower...
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