5 Things David Beckham Has Already Achieved for PSG
Since his arrival at Paris Saint-Germain in late January, David Beckham has contributed toward the growth of Carlo Ancelotti’s side on and off the pitch in different measures.
Regularly used as a substitute, the 37-year-old has also started on a number of occasions and so far has made 11 appearances across all competitions (four starts), notching one assist.
The door is open for the Englishman to stay for another year at the Parc des Princes, but with all of his media commitments and the sands of time starting to take their toll, it appears increasingly likely that the remaining five matches this season will be his swan song.
If he does leave, though, there will plenty that PSG and the fans can be grateful for him doing in his short time in the capital.
Here are five things that David Beckham has already achieved with the capital club, and the legacy it leaves behind.
Rightly or wrongly, the emphasis on the move to bring David Beckham to Paris was geared toward bringing PSG to the sporting world’s attention. The former England captain has succeeded in that, no question.
The former Manchester United man has brought the world’s media to the doorstep of the Parc des Princes, and he has played a part in Les Parisiens’ season without looking out of his depth.
That in itself is a big achievement for Beckham, who clearly, at 37-years-old, is not physically up to the rigours of regular French football given its strength-and-speed-based style of play.
In fact, if anything, it has demonstrated to clubs, players and fans following Beckham’s progress in France that Ligue 1 is not the league that so many people turn their nose up at.
How can a player so technically proficient be struggling to make an impact in his side’s domestic league?
That is because many people, possibly even including Beckham himself, thought that Le Championnat would be a walk in the park. It is not. This is the first mistake people generally make regarding domestic French football. Its emphasis on fitness, strength and speed as well as tactical thinking should not be underplayed.
Just ask Joe Cole, who failed miserably at Lille.
The challenging aspect of French football has now been demonstrated to the footballing world by Beckham’s struggles to have the desired impact to allow him to end his career on an absolute high.
Beckham’s arrival has brought a big-game mentality to PSG, something that they desperately needed more of despite the presence of the likes of Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Motta, Alex and Maxwell.
His seasoned approach to games, such as the Champions League quarterfinal doubleheader with Barcelona, was arguably a big factor in Ancelotti’s superb preparation for the encounters that so nearly saw the side from the capital progress.
The Englishman will have commanded the respect of his new teammates the instant that he arrived at the Camp des Loges for his first training session. With a list of honours that speaks for itself, he will have had considerable influence in the dressing room from the start.
Beckham’s impact on the likes of Lucas Moura, Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, Mamadou Sakho and Clement Chantome, to name just a few, will have been huge and long lasting.
The midfielder’s maturity will have rubbed off on all of the players to an extent, and Ancelotti will reap the rewards of a more mature Verratti, for example, next season.
More importantly than his experience, though, Beckham’s arrival has helped Ancelotti to foster a culture of winning at PSG.
He has stated time and again the importance of "winners and professionals" when speaking about his side, and there is no greater example of a winner still currently active in European football. The Italian could not have wished for a better player to use to disseminate that culture throughout his largely inexperienced team.
There are a lot of talented players in the PSG squad that have cost massive amounts of money, yet they have not won anything of note so far in their careers.
This season’s expected Ligue 1 title would be a first major piece of European silverware for the likes of Salvatore Sirigu, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura. Even Ezequiel Lavezzi only has one Coppa Italia so far in his career and reportedly cost a handsome €30million. The club’s French contingent has also only had domestic cup success thus far and has not tasted a league title.
Beckham’s guidance of those players lacking the experience to stay consistent for long enough to secure a league title will have been invaluable in helping create a positive team chemistry.
Beckham’s biggest advantage for any side in signing him as the greatest rock star of modern footballing history is the fact that, along with the massive commercial boost Brand Beckham brings, the player is also a good influence off the pitch.
His work rate and dedication to his job even in training is reportedly superb by all who have worked with him. Ancelotti called it an "exceptional experience" to have worked with someone so thoroughly absorbed by his profession.
Professionalism is something else that PSG have lacked at times this season, and Beckham will have done his best to correct that by setting a good example off the pitch.
Perhaps it is a lost cause on certain members of the squad. But the likes of the younger, enthusiastic and more easily influenced members of the side will have benefited greatly from such behaviour.
Being able to watch three phenomenal talents in Beckham, Ibrahimovic and Silva stay behind for extra training and setting a sterling example of professionalism will form a massive part of their football education.
More importantly, though, he has taken the media pressure off of the likes of Ibrahimovic, Silva and Moura, allowing the team to make the most of the end of the season.
Recently, a superb Champions League quarterfinal showing saw PSG unlucky to lose out on away goals to Barcelona. A concentrated league effort has resulted in the capital club pulling clear of the chasing pack at the right time. This has been possible because the team were fully focused on those tasks.
The majority of current outside interest in PSG has come through Beckham’s presence. With him diverting the media’s attention away from the side, except for the meek showing against Evian in the Coupe de France last week, the Englishman has ensured that Ancelotti’s side can prepare for matches in complete serenity.
The players also now understand what it takes to be a superstar and global icon. The likes of Lucas Moura and Marco Verratti, two talents that have been touted as potential stars of the game, will now be well-versed in what trappings and how much public exposure come with being one of the best players in the world, having seen it first hand.
The Final Word?
Unfortunately all of those achievements, though highly valuable, have all come away from the pitch. On it there has been little to celebrate from the team’s perspective, but individually Beckham will be delighted that he has proven he can still cut it in Europe.
One assist in 11 appearances is hardly going to set the world alight, but Beckham has done what he was brought in to do and thus can be considered a success for PSG whether he stays for next season or not.
Recent results prove that there is little room in this PSG side for passengers, and a veteran Beckham is essentially one such passenger. The Coupe de France defeat to Evian and some frustrating domestic showings this season have demonstrated to the club the need to source the most efficient French talent from within the league to help them develop at home as well as in Europe.
Crucially, they would provide that cutting edge in PSG’s bread-and-butter competition to ensure future domestic dominance. Beckham can’t provide that, and given recent rumours (h/t beIN Sport via the Daily Mail) that the capital club are lining up Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue as a summer arrival, it looks increasingly likely that his time is up.
Beckham’s experience on and off the field has been invaluable, and it is a great legacy to leave behind, but on the pitch this is a relationship that has now served its time.