We all knew that David Beckham was mostly just a high-cheeked hood ornament for Paris Saint-Germain. At 37 years old, the flower of England football was never going to be part of the engine block that drives the team around gritty le Parc des Princes.
But this story in today’s New York Times perfectly frames the addition of Beckham and all his fabulous attachments, smartly capturing the bigger picture as PSG remakes its brand using a credit card unencumbered by pesky limits.
Beckham is a walking, talking metaphor for the club’s target as a bigger world brand, soccer and otherwise. (Come to think of it, the fellow must be the most handsome metaphor in the history of the world.)
The competition end will likely take care of itself as the Qatari-owned club can shop leisurely, scooping up talent with no regards for bargain scanning. The narrative as “PSG and then the rest” is already a talker around French football.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but PSG didn’t need David Beckham. Not a bit.
Not in terms of competition, at least.
Beckham the be-smoldering model, the charming showman, the ultimate jersey salesman, the traffic clogger along the (now ridiculously commercialized) Champs-Élysées? Sure, that version of Beckham can be put to swell use by PSG. In fact, they already have, as the piece shows in its opening scene setter.
Beckham’s role doesn’t have much to do with the 60-yard passes that he sprayed with such aplomb over recent years at the Home Depot Center (Soon to be the StubHub Center … keep up now!). Rather, it’s all about PSG stretching beyond its quaint little French stomping ground – well, they make it seem quint – and moving on up, into in a more tony global soccer neighborhood.
As the NYT piece says:
… the team wants to win, but not necessarily in France. It wants attention but not necessarily from Parisians. And it wants stars but not necessarily only the on-the-field soccer variety.”