"It was nothing new that people thought i had been brought in to boost jersey sales. It’s been like that in manchester, madrid and milan," said beckham ahead of his possible champions league comeback in the eighth-final rematch against FC valencia. "Every time they found out after a few games that I can still do something," beckham added coolly.
In his first three games for the french league leaders, the almost 38-year-old midfielder has clearly proven that he is not only a force in the media, but also in the sport. That’s why he was allowed to play on europe’s biggest soccer stage again on wednesday after a three-year break.
"I’m excited to be back in the game. I’m feeling good and can’t wait to get back to the top after so many years," said beckham. He watched the 2-1 first-leg victory from the tribune.
This time zlatan ibrahimovic will have to watch instead. The exceptional parisian striker was shown the red card in valencia for a rough foul in injury time and was suspended two games. With marco verratti also out due to his third yellow card, beckham could even be used from the start in defensive midfield more than half a decade after his last starting appearance for real madrid in the 2006/2007 season.
PSG also makes an impression in the top flight again after an absence of eight years. With six wins and only one defeat, paris has the best record of any club in the current competition so far. Against an opponent who arrives with serious defensive worries, the group winners now want to forget their embarrassing fifth defeat of the season at promoted stade reims on saturday evening as quickly as possible. The fact that sporting director leonardo commented on the unpleasant bankruptcy with the words "our team is made less for the league than for europe" caused irritation in the club, however.
Those responsible, on the other hand, are ignoring the critical commentary on the eighth-final clash. Paris vs. Valencia – this pairing would not exist if the rules for financial fair play were already in place. UEFA’s governing body aims to stem the tide of financial poverty in european club football. Valencia is heavily in debt with 400 million, in the primera division the former top club is only middle of the pack. Like PSG, which has pumped 248 million euros into the transfer market since the arrival of qatari investors two years ago, they will face stiff penalties in the future if they fail to balance their books.
The french, after all, are already working on covering their record european expenses with regular income in the future. Since the signing of ibrahimovic, the club has seen a 20 percent increase in revenue – a figure that has soared again since the arrival of beckham. Together, the team, which the press has already dubbed "beckhimovic," is now aiming to increase international success just as much as turnover.