Beckham joins PSG; will donate salary to charity

Updated 01 February 2013
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Beckham joins PSG; will donate salary to charity

 

PARIS: David Beckham’s distinguished career took a surprise late twist when the high-profile former England captain joined French club Paris St. Germain yesterday.
The 37-year-old ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder will get as much attention off the pitch as on it with the world’s media trailing him as he settles into the Parisian lifestyle.
“David refused a lot of clubs from around the world, so we’re very happy to have him,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told a news conference at the Parc des Princes.
“He will help us to reach our dream to become one of the best European clubs, he’ll be of big value for the club, he’ll be a big asset.” Beckham, who has signed a five-month contract with PSG, said his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, and children would continue to live in London.
“My family will be staying in London because my kids go to school there,” he said. “I’ve had more offers now than I have had in my career.
“I can see what the club is trying to do. Paris is an exciting city, always has been and always will be but now there’s a club that’s exciting to me. I’m happy I’ve been picked to be part of the future of PSG. I’m very excited.” The Englishman said he would not receive any salary from PSG, with the money being paid instead to a Paris children’s home.
Beckham, who won six Premier League titles and the 1999 Champions League with United, could step on the Geoffroy Guichard pitch in St. Etienne for the first time since he was sent off playing for England in a World Cup match against Argentina in 1998.
At that time, the Englishman had longer hair and boyish looks. He is now the second oldest player in Ligue 1.
“He may struggle at the highest European level, but he’s got what it takes to be good in the French League,” former PSG goalkeeper Jerome Alonzo told Reuters.
Beckham, however, he is not expecting to start every single game.
“I don’t expect to come into this team and play every single game. I have to work for that. If I work hard, it’s down to the manager,” he said.
Beckham won league titles in his final season with all three clubs he has played for on a permanent basis, Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy.
His career also included two loan spells at AC Milan in 2009 and 2010 during which he played for PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“Carlo is one of the best managers I’ve played for,” Beckham said.
PSG, who have not won the French title since 1994, lead the Ligue 1 standings with 45 points from 22 games.


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.