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NYT piece puts David Beckham’s PSG role into sharp focus

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We all knew that David Beckham was mostly just a high-cheeked hood ornament for Paris Saint-Germain. At 37 years old, the flower of England football was never going to be part of the engine block that drives the team around gritty le Parc des Princes.

But this story in today’s New York Times perfectly frames the addition of Beckham and all his fabulous attachments, smartly capturing the bigger picture as PSG remakes its brand using a credit card unencumbered by pesky limits.

Beckham is a walking, talking metaphor for the club’s target as a bigger world brand, soccer and otherwise. (Come to think of it, the fellow must be the most handsome metaphor in the history of the world.)

The competition end will likely take care of itself as the Qatari-owned club can shop leisurely, scooping up talent with no regards for bargain scanning. The narrative as “PSG and then the rest” is already a talker around French football.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but PSG didn’t need David Beckham. Not a bit.

Not in terms of competition, at least.

Beckham the be-smoldering model, the charming showman, the ultimate jersey salesman, the traffic clogger along the (now ridiculously commercialized) Champs-Élysées? Sure, that version of Beckham can be put to swell use by PSG. In fact, they already have, as the piece shows in its opening scene setter.

Beckham’s role doesn’t have much to do with the 60-yard passes that he sprayed with such aplomb over recent years at the Home Depot Center (Soon to be the StubHub Center … keep up now!). Rather, it’s all about PSG stretching beyond its quaint little French stomping ground – well, they make it seem quint – and moving on up, into in a more tony global soccer neighborhood.

As the NYT piece says:

… the team wants to win, but not necessarily in France. It wants attention but not necessarily from Parisians. And it wants stars but not necessarily only the on-the-field soccer variety.”

VIDEO: Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores beauty for Man United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United controls the ball under pressure from Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United during the EFL Cup quarter final match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on November 30, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Here he comes.

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for Manchester United in the summer big things were expected.

It’s taken him a while to settle but now the Armenian playmaker has scored his first goal for United with a stunning superb solo effort against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

Watch the video below to see Mkhitaryan put United 1-0 up.

What a goal.

VIDEO: Is this the worst open goal miss in history?

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My goodness.

You truly have to see this a few times to believe it is possible.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars

Stunning footage from a game between National Vatera and Makedonikos Kozanis in Greece’s four-tier last weekend has emerged as Kozanis striker Thanasis Takidis goes clean through on goal, gets one yard out but then somehow delays his shot and is blocked on the line by a defender, then the ball gets away from him.

Watch the clip above to see probably the worst miss you will ever see.

I mean, come on man…

Kashima beats Auckland City 2-1 in opener of Club World Cup

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 08:  Daigo Nishi of Kashima Antlers heads the ball over Angel Berlanga of Auckland City during the FIFA Club World Cup Play-off for Quarter Final match between Kashima Antlers and Auckland City at International Stadium Yokohama on December 8, 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
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YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Japanese champion Kashima Antlers beat Auckland City of New Zealand 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after half time, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute.

Fellow sub Mu Kanazaki then completed the comeback in the 88th, heading home from close range after Shoma Doi nodded a deep Shuto Yamamoto cross from the left back.

Kashima advanced to a quarterfinal against African champion Mamelodi Sundowns in Osaka on Sunday.

The winner of that game will face Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Nacional in the semifinal Wednesday. European powerhouse Real Madrid also enters the tournament from the semifinal stage.

The use of video replays was available during the match but there were no official reviews. The technology is there to be used only for correcting clear errors in game-changing decisions.

Previews of all 10 Premier League games – Week 15

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (10) reacts after a challenge during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on April 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Week 15 of the Premier League season has arrived with Manchester United hosting Tottenham, Liverpool welcoming West Ham and Leicester City and Manchester City clashing at the King Power Stadium.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live, here ] 

With some intense relegation battles between Swansea City and Sunderland and Hull City and Crystal Palace, there is plenty on the line as the festive season really starts to heat up.

Below are previews, score predictions and everything else you need to know about all 10 games this weekend.


Chelsea vs. West Brom

Leicester City vs. Manchester City

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Arsenal vs. Stoke City

Southampton vs. Middlesbrough

Swansea City vs. Sunderland

Watford vs. Everton

Hull vs. Crystal Palace

Burnley vs. Bournemouth