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.”

Zlatan becomes PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 21:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic #10 of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates his goal in the second half against AFC Fiorentina during the International Champions Cup at Red Bull Arena on July 21, 2015 in Harrison, New Jersey.Paris Saint-Germain defeated ACF Fiorentina 4-2.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.

After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.

Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.

Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.

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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.

Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.

Atletico and Real draw 1-1 in Madrid derby

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 04: Karim Benzema of Real Madrid CF wins the header after Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid CF at Vicente Calderon Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.

Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.

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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.

Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.

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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.

The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.