PARIS -- International soccer superstar and former Los Angeles Galaxy captain David Beckham will be joining French club Paris Saint Germain, he announced during an evening news conference here Thursday.
“Bonjour,” he said, when asked if he could demonstrate his French. “I haven’t spoken it in quite a while, since I was in school, so that’s been quite a while. I’ll have to brush up.”
His fashion designer and pop-star wife, Victoria Beckham, and their four children will keep their home base in London. “My wife and children, they’ll be staying in London because the children go to school there now. We’re all excited as a family,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the club scheduled a news conference for 5 p.m. but declined to give details. News organizations began to anticipate what the announcement might be after the English midfielder took to his official Facebook page to post a photo of himself in a private plane with the caption “On way to Paris, excited. I will update you all later.”
Beckham, 37, had been rumored to join the French football club in early 2012 but opted to stay in L.A. with the Major League Soccer team for a final season. He ended a six-year run there in December, during which the Galaxy won MLS titles in 2011 and 2012. He also has played for Manchester United and Real Madrid during his career.
Beckham had been warmly welcomed by Hollywood, feted by CAA upon his arrival and honored at a big bash hosted by a then newly married Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith at downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2007.
Since news of his departure from L.A., various clubs around the world have since expressed interest given that Beckham has proved to be a media and marketing hit anywhere he goes.
"Sorry, just find this Beckham/PSG hype so tedious," tweeted CNN host Piers Morgan, a big soccer fan. "He stopped playing proper football years ago. This is just a marketing scam."
Beckham has been equally famous off the field as a model and spokesman for fashion and clothing brands, including Adidas, Giorgio Armani, British retailer Marks & Spencer, Police sunglasses and Breitling luxury watches. Other deals have included arrangements with Samsung, Pepsi, Diet Coke, Yahoo!, Sainsbury’s and Vodafone in the U.K.
Beckham’s most recent high profile-campaign has been as the face of his year-old eponymously branded bodywear line, produced in partnership with international retailer H&M. A series of ads shot by Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie depicted Beckham being chased through the streets of Beverly Hills in his underwear. The Swedish chain announced Jan. 24 that it would also hold a runway show at Paris’ Musee Rodin during Fashion Week in late February.
Beckham’s Footwork Productions manages his image rights and endorsement deals, which earned him more than $24 million (£15.2 million) in 2011. Brand Beckham, a separate company that represents both famous Beckhams, handles the couple’s endorsement deals and income from their range of fragrances.
Beckham is represented by Simon Fuller at XIX Entertainment.