• France edition
 

Beckham and Barton set for Ligue 1 clash

Published: 23 Feb 2013 08:32 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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
Police store human remains in kitchen fridge
Police store human remains in their kitchen fridge. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Police store human remains in kitchen fridge

French police officers made a macabre discovery this week when they found samples of human organs had been stored alongside yoghurts and mustard in the kitchen fridge at their police station in western France. READ  

Four held in probe over French CEO's death
Christophe de Margerie, seen here shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: AFP

Four held in probe over French CEO's death

Four members of staff at Moscow airport, including air traffic controllers have been held in connection with a plane crash that killed the French CEO of oil giant Total Christophe de Margerie. READ  

French PM Valls blasts 'backward-looking left'
French PM Manuel Valls wants to form a new party on the left. Photo: AFP

French PM Valls blasts 'backward-looking left'

In a bid to heal divisions on the left, France's prime minister Manuel Valls made a bold move this week by calling for the creation of a new "progressive" party or alliance of parties. READ  

French MPs poised to get powers to sack president
President may soon face a new threat in France. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP

French MPs poised to get powers to sack president

As if President François Hollande didn’t have enough to worry about, French lawmakers backed a measure this week that would allow them to legally sack the president in case of a “serious breach of duties”. READ  

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'
There is a certain lack of transparency in France compared to other countries, says Transparency International. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Transparency: 'France lags far behind UK, US'

A new study out this week slammed France for totally inadequate controls on lobbyists. The president of the group behind the report tells The Local how France is lagging in transparency and is playing catch up with other nations. READ  

IN PICTURES
French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin
The old barn or the old mill? What would you spend your money on? Photo: Leggett

French property face-off: The Vendée vs Limousin

Would you prefer a converted mill in the Vendée or a renovated barn in the Limousin region of France? Take a look at these two very different revamped properties in France that are on the market and decide what would you rather spend your money on. READ  

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'
French lawmakers could be in big trouble with the taxman. Photo: AFP

'Sixty French lawmakers file suspect tax returns'

In what could end up a major tax scandal in France some 60 French lawmakers are in trouble with the taxman after their financial disclosures to the public didn’t quite match up with what they’d declared to authorities, according to media reports. READ  

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages
The 2015 Tour de France route. Image: Le Tour.fr

Tour de France 2015: Five crucial stages

Here's a look at the key stages in the 2015 Tour de France after the route was unveiled in Paris on Wednesday. Look out for the Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day. READ  

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France
The famous Alpe de Huez climb, which will be climbed on the penultimate stage of the 2015 race. Photo: AFP

Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France

The route of the 2015 Tour de France was unveiled on Wednesday with one of the major surprises being the penultimate day of racing, which will see the peloton climb the mythical Alpe d'Huez in the French Alps. READ  

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words
President François Hollande's first government feel a long time ago, with ousted ministers now in an open war of words with Socialist Party chiefs. Photo: AFP

French Socialist party rift breaks into war of words

Splits plaguing France's ruling party came to the fore on Wednesday as ousted ministers and allies of embattled President Francois Hollande engaged in a very public war of words. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
National
Paris installs new device to stop 'love lock' craze
National
Paris cabby dies in vicious high-heel attack
National
'Paris is a sexy city, its beauty is inspiring'
Culture
Depardieu: ‘I drink 14 bottles of booze a day’
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