Monday 20 November 2017

Beckham set to play part in depleted PSG line-up

Jamie Holland

David Beckham could make his return to the Champions League tonight when Paris St Germain host Valencia with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti suspended and winger Jeremy Menez injured, the odds have shortened on Beckham featuring.

The 37-year-old, who has not played in Europe's premier club competition since AC Milan went out to Manchester United at this stage three years ago, is confident that he still has what it takes to play in his old position on the right flank at this level.

"I think I can still play on the right," he said. "My strengths have always been passing and crossing the ball."

Beckham watched from the stands in the opening leg at the Mestalla, when PSG claimed their 2-1 advantage and top scorer Ibrahimovic needlessly saw red in the final moments.

GRANTED

The Swede's absence, plus last Saturday's surprise 1-0 defeat at Reims, has ensured PSG will be taking nothing for granted at the Parc des Princes.

Ibrahimovic, who has scored 26 goals this season, has been masking PSG's weaknesses. When he is out of form the team seems short on options.

PSG's win in Valencia three weeks ago contrasted sharply with Saturday's poor display, which was PSG's second straight away loss to a team fighting against relegation.

Following Saturday's loss, sporting director Leonardo made the bizarre claim that "maybe we have a team made for Europe, not for this kind of match."

Leonardo's comments were met with wide-ranging criticism in the French media and put coach Carlo Ancelotti in a fragile position. He hardly needs a member of the club's hierarchy saying that the team is essentially too good for its own league and destined for European success.

Paris St Germain v Valencia

Live, Sky Sports 4, 7.45

Irish Independent

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