• France's news in English
 

Beckham and Barton set for Ligue 1 clash

Published: 23 Feb 2013 08:32 GMT+01:00

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 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.

"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," he added.

"We are the outsiders, but that status suits us."

As league leaders, and the financial powerhouse of French football, PSG come into this game as favourites.

However, there is extra pressure on them to get a result after their shock 3-2 defeat away at struggling Sochaux last weekend.

While Beckham has trained normally with his new teammates this week, question marks surround the fitness of Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez, but Javier Pastore seems certain to start the game.

"The level of motivation is always huge for this type of match," said the Argentine, whose first impressions of Beckham have been good.

"He is a great player and a great person. I thought he would be a little bit detached from the rest of us, but he is very humble."

"To be able to share these moments with him in the changing room and on the pitch is a very positive thing."

Elie Baup's Marseille side have not been convincing since the winter break, and needed an injury-time strike from Rod Fanni to beat Valenciennes 1-0 last weekend.

The problems are building up for them too, with Jordan Ayew ruled out due to suspension and Morgan Amalfitano and Benoit Cheyrou both injured.

Lyon bounced back from successive league defeats to crush Bordeaux 4-0 away last weekend, but they face a tough test at home to Lorient less than 72 hours after their last-gasp elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Tottenham.

Lorient could pose a serious threat to Remi Garde's side, especially as they have had a full week to prepare for the game.

Jean-Michel Aulas, the outspoken Lyon president, this week complained that his team are being treated unfairly in being made to play on Thursday evening and then again on Sunday afternoon.

"There is a desire to make things difficult for Lyon against Lorient, who have not played during the week," he insisted.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais travel chaos
Calais: French strikers threaten to up the ante
Could the Calais crisis be about to get worse? File photo: AFP

Calais: French strikers threaten to up the ante

As the head of a British truckers association says the army should be brought in to clear the blockade of Calais, French strikers have threatened to step up militant action in the days to come. READ  

Half of France now on alert as mercury hits 40C
The heatwave continues to scorch most of France. Photo: AFP

Half of France now on alert as mercury hits 40C

UPDATED: France's weather agency has issued further warnings across the country as temperatures topped 40C in some parts. READ  

Blind teacher in France told to supervise exams
The woman was told to supervise an exam, even though she can't see. Photo: AFP

Blind teacher in France told to supervise exams

A blind teacher in southern France was baffled to be called in to supervise students during a an exam. Despite her appeals that she wasn't est suited, her school forced her to do it. READ  

French air traffic controllers call off strike

French air traffic controllers call off strike

Relief for air passengers on Wednesday as French air traffic controllers called off a planned two-day strike that was set to cause travel chaos across Europe on Thursday and Friday. READ  

Ryanair takes on French air traffic controllers
Ryanair has launched a petition to try to ban strikes by air traffic controllers. Photo: AFP

Ryanair takes on French air traffic controllers

Budget airline Ryanair has called on members of the public across Europe to back its new campaign to stop French air traffic controllers going on strike. It comes as a planned strike in France was called off at the eleventh hour. READ  

The best places in Paris to escape the heatwave
Grab a book and find some shade. But where? Photo: AFP

The best places in Paris to escape the heatwave

Paris is not the most pleasant place to be in the midst of a sweltering heatwave, but that doesn't mean you have to stay at home in front of an electric fan. Here are the best options for how to get out but keep cool. READ  

France persuades China to recognise Bordeaux
Chinese students taste real Bordeaux wine. Photo: AFP

France persuades China to recognise Bordeaux

After a four-year struggle, France has convinced China to recognise "Bordeaux" as a brand in a bid to combat counterfeit wines, the government announced. READ  

How life will change in France as of today
Dodgy parking is no longer being tolerated with steep fines coming into force on July 1st. Photo: AFP

How life will change in France as of today

Life will slightly change in France as of Wednesday July 1st with everything from driving rules, dodgy parking and family allowance payments affected. Here’s what you need to know. READ  

The best French beaches to survive the heatwave

The best French beaches to survive the heatwave

As France sizzles under a week-long heatwave many will feel like heading to the beach to escape the heat. Here's ten of the best around the country. READ  

Channel travel chaos
Calais port stays shut as French strike goes on

Calais port stays shut as French strike goes on

The port of Calais remained closed for a third straight day on Wednesday as French sailors continued their industrial action. All ferry services to and from the port have been suspended. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Ten beaches in France where you'd love to be during the heatwave
Calais chaos: Travellers left to curse 'striking French'
Society
Why the French are right to strike (but perhaps not burn tracks)
National
It's getting hot in here: France set to bake under 'intense' heatwave
National
Dreading the heatwave in France? Here's how to survive the sun
Why France doesn't have much to lose from a Grexit
National
Frenchwoman dies as bungee jump ends in tragedy
Travel
The most beautiful French villages you've never heard of
National
Can we really feel any sympathy for French taxi drivers?
National
Here's what we know so far about the suspect in France's factory attack
Trouble in France as taxi drivers' anti-Uber protests turn violent
Feigned French shock over US spying is not fooling anyone
Gallery
When Franco-American relations turn sour - Ten transatlantic scraps
Spying on French presidents: What the Wikileaks documents reveal
Sport
Dozens fall violently ill after 'mud race' in France
How a genetically modified 'jellyfish-lamb' ended being eaten in France
Culture
Ten must-visit movie scene locations in Paris
National
Paris to return historic squares to the people
Forget Nutella here's eight things the French should really give up
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
National
Video: See the cat that hitched a ride on a plane and lived to tell the tail
It's time to lay off the French - They are not that rude
National
Just look at what France has given the United States over the years
Health
France's creaking health service must change if it wants to stay world's best
National
French warn UK: 'Brexit could be your Waterloo'
Features
Waterloo 200 years on: Why it's still a taboo for the French
Europe commemorates 200 years since Waterloo
National
Waterloo: What you need to know about Napoleon
French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Is it time for France's empty churches to be turned into mosques?
National
How John Lennon's song of peace led to a race row in a French school
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
Society
French school teacher shows his pupils porn film
National
IN PICTURES: See the blaze that ravaged a French basilica
Video: Tourists shocked by Calais migrants scramble
Society
French family gets letter... 138 years late
The French words the English language needs to steal right now
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
13 ways France aims to become more welcoming to tourists
Education
Expat parents protest changes to admissions for Paris bilingual schools
Education
Test yourself: Just how good is your French grammar?
Travel
France to spend 'hundreds of millions' on tourism
National
French mum's Facebook post about her daughter Louise has gone viral
Land for €1 per square metre - could this be the best bargain in France?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,582
jobs available