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On-field contributions Beckham makes will be a bonus. The big thing for PSG is simply that he is here, looking great in a city that has elevated that to an art. Their wealth allows PSG’s owners to treat themselves and their grateful fans to la creme of football: one of the sport’s best coaches in Ancelotti, one of the best strikers in the towering shape of Ibrahimovic and now an icon, Beckham. He gives them bragging rights over other status-conscious members of the Qatari elite.

If Ibrahimovic is PSG’s sports car, the player whose goals will help the team get places, then Beckham is the rare vintage automobile to be shown off but not driven wildly so his aging parts don’t overheat. He is an image-enhancer for PSG and Qatar, the Gulf emirate pouring billions into sport to win friends and influence and to provide future revenue when its gas and oil reserves are pumped dry.

In short, a big reason Beckham is in Paris is because PSG wants people like me to write this article and people like you to read it.

Are we really that easy to influence? Answer: Because of Beckham, I’m betting that if you didn’t know already, you can now say what the “P” in PSG stands for.


John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at) or follow him at