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Beckham’s role after retirement to remain global
PARIS (AP) - After David Beckham’s long and distinguished soccer career ends on an artificial turf field in northwestern France, his life promises to be perhaps even more glamorous than it already has been.
Nearly 20 years after breaking into the Manchester United lineup, the 38-year-old former England captain won the French league title with Paris Saint-Germain this season.
After announcing his retirement on Thursday, Beckham’s role in soccer will take on a new dimension worldwide.
He has an ambassadorial role for Chinese soccer and for British television channel Sky, as well as an option to buy a franchise in Major League Soccer.
“I would like to wish him all the best for all of his future projects,” PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “We are talking about the possibility of continuing our work together.”
But PSG may have to get in line, as the English Football Association also desperately wants him on board.
This was the same Beckham who, although ruled out of the tournament through injury, insisted on traveling to South Africa to support his teammates at the 2010 World Cup.
Beckham reportedly is being paid 20 million euros ($30.6 million) over five years to work as a Sky Television ambassador _ showing the drawing power he retains.
“He’ll have more time on his hands and more time for commercial partners and the brands he can work or be associated with,” said Steve Martin, the chief executive of M&C Saatchi Sport and Entertainment. “He has also got so many commercial sponsors that will carry on whether he is playing or not.”
He may develop business interests in the United States, too.
Beckham had five decent years with the Los Angeles Galaxy from 2007-12, winning the championship in his last two seasons. He still has first refusal if he is offered an MSL franchise, although for now it remains unclear where that might take him.
“I have the option of owning a franchise,” Beckham said in December, “and that excites me.”
So that’s Europe and North America. What about Asia?
Two months ago, part of Beckham’s future was already in full swing when he arrived in China. At the time, he said he hadn’t ruled out playing professionally in China one day.
“Who knows? People keep saying that it will be my last club, it will be my last season,” he said. “I continue to play and I love playing, so we’ll see.”
By Brahma Chellaney
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