Beckham, Barton braced for French duel

PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille meet in the biggest fixture in the French footballing calendar this weekend, and the game at the Parc des Princes is set to have a distinct English flavour to it.
Beckham will be eager to impress in his first appearance against Marseille. Net photo.
Beckham will be eager to impress in his first appearance against Marseille. Net photo.

Saturday
Rennes         vs     Sochaux     18:00
Ajaccio         vs     Lille
Evian        vs     Montpellier
Nancy         vs     Saint-Etienne
Troyes         vs     Bastia
Valenciennes     vs Toulouse
Sunday
Lyon         vs     Lorient    15:00
Bordeaux     vs     Brest    18:00
PSG         vs     Marseille    22:00

PARIS
– Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille meet in the biggest fixture in the French footballing calendar this weekend, and the game at the Parc des Princes is set to have a distinct English flavour to it.

This latest edition of what has come to be known as ‘Le Classique’ is one of the most important in years, with PSG coming into the weekend three points clear of Lyon at the top of Ligue 1, and five points above Marseille in third.

The outcome of Sunday’s encounter could go a long way to deciding who is crowned champions at the end of the season, but the possibility of seeing David Beckham finally make his PSG debut in the game adds an even greater element of intrigue.

If he does play, there is the prospect of seeing the 37-year-old Beckham go directly up against his fellow countryman, Marseille’s Joey Barton.

They are two men who represent the polar opposites of English footballing culture.

Renowned ‘bad-boy’ Barton, who is on loan at Marseille from Queens Park Rangers, has raised doubts as to how much of an impact Beckham can make at PSG, and expressed confidence that the visitors can still have a major say in the title race.

“He is a super ambassador for English football, but he is maybe not the athlete he was five years ago because, without wanting to disrespect the MLS (where Beckham last played for the Los Angeles Galaxy), it is not the same level,” Barton told sports daily L’Equipe.

“People have been talking to me about this game since I arrived here,” he added.

“We are just behind them in the table, and we are getting to the end of February. It is now that championships are won and lost.

 

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