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.


Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

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Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

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Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

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Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

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Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

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There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?