David Beckham will not join Paris Saint-Germain for “family reasons”, the big-spending Qatar-backed French club’s sporting director Leonardo said on Tuesday, amid reports the club will now try to lure either Kaka from Real Madrid or Pato from AC Milan.
“He will not come to PSG,” said the Brazilian, citing “family reasons” for the 36-year-old former England captain’s decision not to relocate from Los Angeles to the French capital.
“It’s over,” Leonardo was later quoted as saying by lequipe.fr.
“It’s a shame. But the well-being of his family in Los Angeles and the desire to not change everything in his life weighed heavily.”
Club president Nasser al-Khelaifi added: “We are disappointed a little bit, of course, that he is not coming.
“But we are agreed it would be better for everyone if that were so.”
Leonardo’s announcement brings to an end months of speculation linking Beckham, whose contract with Los Angeles Galaxy finished on December 31, with a transfer to PSG, which on Friday named Italian Carlo Ancelotti as new coach.
“It’s not Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival that changed everything,” Leonardo was quick to stress.
PSG, which play AC Milan in a friendly in Dubai on Wednesday, earlier trained under the watchful eye of new owner, Qatar’s Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and club president Khelaifi.
Following the close-season purchase of the club by wealthy investors Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), headed by the crown prince, rumours had been rife in the French press that the deal for Beckham was as good as done.
But other sources close to the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star had long kept their distance, saying the player, his wife Victoria and four children were happy and settled in Los Angeles, where he won the MLS Cup title with the Galaxy last season.
QSI strode into the French capital and bought a 70 percent controlling stake in PSG in June, with Khelaifi promising “to make the club a great team and a strong brand on the international scene”.
They promptly spent 85 million euros in the summer to attract new talent including a massive 42 million euros forked out to Italian side Palermo for 22-year-old midfielder Javier Pastore.
A QSI source told AFP Tuesday that Ancelotti will now target Brazilian duo Kaka of Real Madrid and AC Milan’s Alexandre Pato, both of whom the Italian previously coached at the San Siro in a deal set to cost some 61 million euros.
Pato, who has a rocky relationship with Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, would cost 38 million while Kaka would reportedly be available for 23.5 million - if Real coach Jose Mourinho sanctions a deal.
PSG’s first competitive match under 52-year-old former AC Milan and Chelsea boss Ancelotti, who won the Champions League twice both as a player and as a coach with AC Milan, will be a French Cup last-64 tie away to Brittany amateur outfit Locmine on January 8.