British press lauds Beckham's last tango in Paris

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 01 2013 03:01 PM | Updated as of Feb 01 2013 11:01 PM

LONDON - David Beckham's showbiz arrival at Paris Saint-Germain proved that he remains one of the biggest stars in world football despite his advancing years, Britain's newspapers said Friday.

Former England captain Beckham, who won the English, Spanish and US league titles with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy respectively, agreed a five-month deal with the French league leaders on Thursday.

"Golden Boules", was The Sun's take on the 37-year-old midfielder's move to PSG.

The tabloid said he was "already a hero" for donating his salary to charity but he had "better keep a few quid (pounds) back" for his Spice Girl wife Victoria's Paris shopping sprees.

The Daily Express and the Daily Mirror called him "Saint Becks" for his charity gesture.

"Beckham put playing before brand with last tango in Paris", said The Times.

"It is, of course, all about the brand -- a move based purely on commercial considerations. For Paris Saint-Germain, that is," wrote their chief football correspondent Oliver Kay.

"But for David Beckham, the latest move in his extraordinary career appears, first and foremost, to be all about football.

"He has shown that he still has ambitions to prove himself at a higher level."

The move "announces to the world -- and indeed to France -- that there is a football club in Paris.

"He does not want the drudgery of a mid-table existence in England. He wants yet another championship, yet another fairytale. And if it all adds to the mystique and the brand, so much the better."

The Daily Telegraph said: "Mobbed as he arrived in Paris, he proved that -- in the twilight of his glittering career -- he was still one of the biggest box office draws in sport."

Beckham picked the right gesture in the right country by donating his salary, the broadsheet said.

"Money is perhaps the ultimate taboo in a country that guillotined its aristocracy for hoarding wealth and whose socialist president, Francois Hollande, famously declared: 'I don't like the rich'."

The Guardian's Paris correspondent Angelique Chrisafis said the press conference "oozed money: it was the quintessence of football's mega-rich.

"The Qatari-owned team, the highest spending club in Europe in the past year, was flashing its cash by bagging the biggest, living, breathing man-brand in sport, whether advertising too-tight white underwear, shifting football shirts or posing with fizzy drinks."

But by donating his salary to charity, "Did this mean here at last was a stinking rich person France could warm to?"

Sam Wallace in The Independent warned: "The Beckham story post-Manchester United is significantly well-established now, via Madrid, Los Angeles and Milan, for him to do himself lasting damage in Paris."

For PSG's Qatari owners, "Beckham is a guarantee that your club will be, if nothing else, of interest."

They have bought into "Beckhamism: celebrity, modernity, all wrapped up in old-fashioned English politeness and an old-school enthusiasm for football. There appears to be an extraordinary demand for it, which only one man can fulfil.

"Beckham is now comfortably established as one of Britain's foremost modern cultural exports."

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