A-League champions Sydney FC will test themselves against one of Europe’s most glamorous and cashed-up clubs next month when they face French Paris Saint Germain in China.
David Beckham pledged to donate his salary to a children’s charity on Thursday after signing a five-month contract with Paris-Saint Germain, the latest stop on his globe-trotting career.
The former England captain joined French club PSG after turning down several other offers and pledging to effectively play for free.
Beckham recently finished a six-year stint in the United States with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and a move to Australia was reportedly on the cards.
But those links to A-League clubs Perth Glory, Melbourne Heart and the Central Coast Mariners were proven to be tenuous at best.
No financial details were given as to how much Beckham’s salary would be at PSG, or the name of the charity.
“It’s something we (decided) together, it’s one of the things we talked about from the start. But this all happened so quick,” Beckham said.
“I thought what a great idea it would be, that the salary would go to a children’s charity in Paris.”
The 37-year-old said he was unwilling to play for another English club after his success with Manchester United.
Beckham’s glamorous career has featured titles with United, Real Madrid and the Galaxy.
Whether he can still be a force in European football is still uncertain.
“I am very lucky. I am 37 years old and I got offered a lot of offers, more offers now than I have probably had in my career, at my age,” Beckham said.
“I am very honoured about that. I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do, the players the club are trying to bring in. It’s an exciting city, always has been, always will be.
“I have been training at Arsenal. My fitness won’t take long to get up to speed. I definitely won’t be fit for next Friday. A few weeks and I’ll be up to speed.”
Beckham was close to joining PSG last year, discussing a potential move with sporting director Leonardo as PSG desperately chased a big name to match its new-found status and seemingly endless funds from Qatari backers.
But the move fell through and PSG moved on to other targets, capturing striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, his AC Milan teammate Thiago Silva, Napoli winger Ezequiel Lavezzi and Brazilian prodigy Lucas.
When Beckham decided to depart Los Angeles, it was again on the cards.
The move was finalised at 11am local time on Thursday when Beckham boarded a plane to Paris.
While on the flight, Beckham agreed on a novel way of putting his big salary to good use.
“We decided on something that is quite unique – I won’t receive any salary. We have decided that my salary will go towards a local children’s charity in Paris. And that’s one of things we are very excited and proud to be able to do,” he said.
Although Beckham’s deal runs out in June, he intends to carry on playing, although whether or not that will still be with PSG remains to be decided.
However, he is eager to have a long-term role at the club.
Immaculately dressed and groomed, Beckham was a model of elegance and calm as camera crews and photographers jostled for the best positions amid frenzied scenes in a tightly packed press room.