PARIS -- The snow fell in soft flakes Sunday on Paris. It felt like Christmas. If you were looking for a late present for a loved one, Paris Saint-Germain soccer club had one, and only one, suggestion for you.
The outside of the club's store on the Champs Élysées is decorated with a huge picture of David Beckham, a tourist who is in the City of Light on a five-month visit. Inside, every other shirt hanging on the racks seemed to carry Beckham's name and his number, 32. That was nothing compared to the club's two stores outside its arena, the Parc des Princes, both crammed with fans Sunday before the start of the annual showdown with PSG's most detested French rival, Olympique Marseille. Every single shirt, it seemed, said "Beckham, 32."
Those fans then saw Beckham himself "baptising" his PSG shirt as he played the last 15 minutes. He even helped set up the second goal in a 2-0 victory. The result kept PSG three points ahead of Lyon atop Ligue 1. Marseille remains third, but now trails PSG by eight points.
Carlo Ancelotti, the PSG manager was asked if the fact he had given Beckham just 15 minutes suggested the player had been signed for commercial, not football reasons.
"For me, he's a PSG player," Ancelotti answered.