ER England captain David Beckham joined Paris Saint-Germain in the highest-profile transfer of deadline day – and then sprung another shock by announcing that his wages will be donated to charity.
The 37-year-old midfielder, who has signed a five-month contract until the end of the season, revealed his pay packet, thought to be around £150,000 per week, would be diverted in an unprecedented move.
“I won’t receive any salary,” he said. “My salary will go to a local children’s charity in Paris. It’s something exciting and something I’m not sure has been done before.”
It is unclear whether Beckham will benefit financially in any other way from his move to France, where plans for a 75 per cent rate of tax for those earning over €1m (£850,000) a year have caused disquiet.
Suggestions have been raised that Beckham may retain a role with PSG beyond this season – he said he was “honoured to be part of its future” – or their owners in Qatar, which will host the 2020 World Cup.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy and AC Milan player said he had rejected a number of English clubs in favour of joining PSG, who lead the French top flight and are in the Champions League.
“I chose Paris because I can see what the club are trying to do. It’s an exciting city and now there’s a club that’s going to have a lot of success in the next 10, 20, 30 years,” he added.
“I was successful with Manchester United and always said I’d never play for another English club. I’m honoured by offers I had from Premier League clubs but I didn’t want to play there unless it was for United.”
England’s most capped outfield player ever, who won domestic titles at United, Real and the Galaxy, is to be reunited with manager Carlo Ancelotti and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom he knows from loan spells at Milan.
PSG, who have spent more than £200m on players since the takeover by Qatar Sports Investments – an arm of the state – 18 months ago, almost signed Beckham last January, only for him to stay in California.
The east London-born superstar opted to leave America when his contract expired in December, and began training with Arsenal last month in order to regain his fitness.