Beckham arrives in China as CSL ambassador
BEIJING - Soccer superstar David Beckham arrived in Beijing on Wednesday to start his role as an ambassador for the Chinese Super League (CSL) and the Youth Football Program in China.
David Beckham poses with students after a press conference in Shi-Jia Primary School in Beijing on March 20, 2013. [Cui Meng/chinadaily.com.cn]
The 37-year-old, who was named the first global ambassador of the CSL in February, launched into his duties immediately after his arrival in the Chinese capital, visiting two local schools to promote soccer.
"I am very proud to be here as the ambassador for the Chinese Super League and have a chance to help the children in China who love football," said the former England captain, who was greeted by a media scrum and hundreds of fans.
"I love working with children. The development of children is very important for me.
"Children are the future. I want to do everything possible to help children in China to become professional footballers one day, " he added.
Chinese football is battling to rebuild its image tainted by corruption and match-fixing scandals, while Beckham said it has nothing to do with his job here.
"The scandal will not affect my work," he said. "It has nothing to do with me. I'm here to promote football and for the continuing success of the game and for its future. I will help children here and give them chance to come to professional football."
Beckham, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in January on a short-term deal until the end of the season after leaving Los Angeles Galaxy in December, said he was satisfied with his recent performance at the French club.
"I'm proud that I keep my fitness and I can play 90 minutes in the match with some great players," he said.
Beckham also wished good luck to his former England teammate Michael Owen who announced on Tuesday to retire at the end of the season.
"I wish him good luck," said Beckham. "He is a great player, a legend in our country. As a long time friend, I wish him all the best. He has an amazing wife and an amazing family."
The superstar will also visit the eastern city of Qingdao, and Wuhan in China's Central Hubei province during his five-day trip.
David Beckham recieve a gift from Wei Jixiang, a soccer official with China's General Adminstration of Sports, after a press conference in Shi-Jia Primary School in Beijing on March 20, 2013. [Cui Meng/chinadaily.com.cn]