Well, David Beckham is a Paris Saint-Germain player and a lot of punters are kicking themselves for not making money out of what, in hindsight, was an obvious move from Major League Soccer to the French Ligue Un for the Englishman.
Beckham received mind-blowing offers from teams all around the world, including sides in Australia, England and the oil-rich Middle East, and one gets the feeling that Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp would have swam across the Atlantic Ocean to sign the former England captain from Los Angeles Galaxy. But once Paris Saint-Germain made its interest known, Beckham was likely to be France bound.
Paris Saint-Germain ticks a lot of boxes for Beckham. It is top of French Ligue Un after 23 rounds, three points clear of its closest challenger, so a championship looks on the cards. Certainly bookmakers agree with PSG as short as 1-7 to win what would be only its third league championship.
The lure of UEFA Champions League football – something that Redknapp could not offer with Queens Park Rangers – played a part in getting Beckham to Paris Saint-Germain as well, as did the French city being the world’s fashion capital. That would not have gone unnoticed by his wife, Victoria. And being just three hours from London by train is a bonus.
But the major reason why Beckham picked Paris Saint-Germain is that Carlo Ancelotti is the French Ligue Un table-topping team’s manager. Beckham has many friends in football but few people have formed a tighter bond with him than Ancelotti.
The 53-year-old Italian was the coach of Milan when Beckham, acting upon England manager Fabio Capello’s orders to stay fit if he wanted to play in his country’s FIFA World Cup qualifying matches in 2009, joined the Italian Serie A powerhouse on a short-term loan from Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ancelotti and Beckham hit it off immediately, enjoying each other’s company away from the pitch. Famously, Ancelotti drove Beckham more than 200 kilometres just so that they could have dinner at one of the Italian’s favourite restaurants. It was a spur of the moment thing but absolutely typical of their close friendship.
Beckham was 33 years old when he joined Milan for the first of his two loan spells with the Rossoneri but Ancelotti did not have any qualms about putting the veteran Englishman in his side’s starting line-up. Beckham joined Milan during the winter break of the 2008-2009 Italian Serie A season and was eligible to play in the last 21 rounds of the championship. Ancelotti named Beckham as a starter in 18 of those games.
Ancelotti had fled Milan by the time that Beckham returned to the San Siro at the midway point of the 2009-2010 Italian Serie A competition, with Leonardo filling the void created by Ancelotti’s move to English Premier League giant Chelsea. Beckham made seven league starts for the Rossoneri under Leonardo and came off the bench on four occasions.
News of Beckham’s charity-focused five-month deal with Paris Saint-Germain made worldwide headlines and bookmakers did not stand on ceremony waiting for an invitation to frame exotic betting markets. Consequently, punters are able to bet on, among other things, the number of times that the Englishman scores for PSG in French Ligue Un this season. Already a fans favourite, Beckham’s press conference below revels his generous charity donation.
However, the Beckham exotic betting markets that represent the best opportunities for punters are the ones regarding his number of French Ligue Un and UEFA Champions League starts this term. Bwin and BetVictor are the bookmakers whose odds should grab the attention of value hunters.
Bwin is offering odds of just under evens that Beckham starts more than six French Ligue Un matches for Paris Saint-Germain this season. The front-of-shirt sponsor of Real Madrid has probably read too much into Beckham’s mediocre Milan statistics under Leonardo and not placed sufficient emphasis on his superb numbers under Ancelotti. If Beckham stays fit and healthy – and no-one looks after oneself better than the 37-year-old superstar – then one should expect Ancelotti to pick him more often than not. There are 15 rounds of the French Ligue Un championship to go so Beckham has plenty of time to get to seven starts.
If Bwin has made a small odds-compiling error then BetVictor has made a big one in offering odds of around 4-1 that Beckham starts a UEFA Champions League game for Paris Saint-Germain this term. PSG’s tie against Valencia may occur too soon for Beckham to feature from the start but every bookmaker has the French side as the favourite to qualify for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, with BetVictor quoting it at odds of around 4-7. Surely if Paris Saint-Germain makes the last eight, there is an excellent chance that Beckham will start one of the two legs. Anything over 2-1 seems like value about this particular proposition so BetVictor is going way out on a limb with around 4-1.
The bromance between Beckham and Ancelotti is back on and there are opportunities for punters to profit from it.