David Beckham impresses on debut for Paris Saint-Germain
France captivated as former England skipper comes off bench and helps his team to victory
DAVID BECKHAM made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain last night and helped his new team beat Marseille 2-0 in a game known as Le Classique in France.
The build-up to the match between two of the country's biggest clubs had been dominated by the presence of Beckham, or "Le Spice Boy" as he is known in the French media, in the PSG squad.
There was also the added bonus of his rivalry with fellow Englishman and notorious bad boy Joey Barton, who plays for Marseille. France Football magazine even billed the clash as "Angel v Demon".
TV station Canal Plus added to the excitement by tracking Beckham's every move with a special "Beck-Cam".
However, Beckham watchers had to wait until the 76th minute for the former England skipper to enter the fray. With his team hanging on to a 1-0 lead, he immediately got stuck in.
"There was enough to suggest this is a man able to prove a point to his critics," said the BBC. "From his deep-lying midfield role, there were fierce challenges, orders barked at team-mates and even a charge down the right wing, reminiscent of days of old."
His most significant contribution came in stoppage time when he helped set up PSG's second goal scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
"Beckham was the first to congratulate the Swede, leaping into his arms with the enthusiasm of a seven-year-old," said Jim White of the Daily Telegraph. "It was a moment which gave a hint as to why, at 37, England's most celebrated sportsman is still out there playing football: he loves it."
The Daily Mail noted that with Victoria Beckham watching from the stands "Brand Beckham" had descended on the French capital.
Even before his contribution to the goal "the French were going mad for this", said the paper. "Chants of 'David, David' echoed around the stadium as snow fell in honour of the new No 32.
"Fourteen minutes of action is too little for a serious appraisal of Beckham," the Mail added. "But there were signs that Brand Beckham has some football left in it."
But not everyone was bowled over. French newspaper Le Monde tried to feign Gallic indifference to the arrival of Beckham.
"The first contribution of the Spice Boy will allow the Parisian side to divert some media attention away from their lacklustre performance on the pitch," it sniffed. ·