Beckham talks the talk for PSG ahead of Barcelona clash

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Yes, his legs move a little slower than they used to – but David Beckham’s mouth is in perfect working order.

When Paris Saint-Germain brought in David Beckham, they weren’t only signing a set-piece expert. Turns out, the French club also got a master storyteller ahead of their daunting Champions League quarter-final, second leg tie against Barcelona today.

Midfielder Javier Pastore said that the 37-year-old former Manchester United, Real Madrid, A.C. Milan and Los Angeles Galaxy star has been inspiring his team-mates with tales of the good old days.

“David tells the stories to create belief in the team and it works,” Pastore told The Sun. “It is so funny when he tells his stories in the dressing room. I look around and all the players are silent just listening to everything he has to say – it is like a teacher reading to his kids in class.”

Last week’s first leg in Paris ended 2-2, leaving Barcelona firm favorites to go through at the Nou Camp (kick-off, 2.45pm ET). Beckham’s message, though, is that PSG can do it – and when a player of his experience talks, it’s not surprising others want to listen. Pastore added:

“David has been telling us that we have everything it takes to progress – and that we just need to believe that anything is possible. He has achieved everything and played in every big game there is to play in. He has been telling us a similar situation when Manchester United drew at home with a great Juventus team many years ago [1999] and needed to go and win in Italy.

“It was a special Juventus team with Zinedine Zidane, Edgar Davids, Pippo Inzaghi, Didier Deschamps and many more. David said that Manchester went 2-0 down early – but they had the belief and went on to win the game and then the Champions League.”

Check out Richard Farley’s match preview here.

 

VIDEO: Pedro scores stunning goal for Chelsea

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Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…

12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Watford in top five clash

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Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.

As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.

In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi

Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:

Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr named NWSL league MVP for 2017

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CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.

Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.

Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!