• Ligue 1

Ancelotti wants longer Beckham stay

ESPN staff
March 29, 2013 « Rio shocked by chants from own fans | Chartbeat test »
Carlo Ancelotti hopes David Beckham will extend his stay at PSG beyond the summer © PA Photos
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Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his desire to keep David Beckham at Paris Saint-Germain beyond the end of this season, but acknowledged the final decision is out of his hands.

Beckham, 37, signed a deal through to June when he moved to the French capital in January, but Ancelotti, 53, told the press he hopes the former England captain will extend his playing career beyond next summer at the Parc des Princes.

He said: "I would really like Beckham to extend his contract, but once again, it's a decision the player has to take in agreement with the club. But I'm in favour of it."

With Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg with Barcelona approaching fast, Ancelotti is likely to use Beckham in some capacity against Ligue 1 champions Montpellier on Friday. Some, notably Bixente Lizarazu in his L'Equipe column, suggested the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder's five-day trip to China during the international break would mean he would be short of fitness upon PSG's return to domestic action.

Ancelotti, however, swept aside suggestions that the whirlwind tour, part of Beckham's role as an ambassador for youth football in China and the Chinese Super League, had caused a problem.

"If he went to China, it's because everyone agreed that he could go," Ancelotti said. "There's no problem. Not for me, not for the club, not for the players. I also agreed. I didn't understand the debate provoked by his trip. He had commitments before signing for PSG. Some had a holiday, he went to China. He didn't have a holiday, as I read somewhere, he just had an extra day's rest compared to the other players who stayed here. They had three days, he had four."

Though he was on international duty with France, Mamadou Sakho, 23, should be fresh too having been an unused substitute for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier defeat to Spain after starting the Group I encounter with Georgia last Friday. The PSG youth academy product told L'Equipe last week that "in the mind of the PSG coach, I know I'm number three" in the hierarchy of central defenders behind Brazilian duo Alex and Thiago Silva.

"If he thinks that, I'm sorry, because it's not true," Ancelotti said. "Sakho's played 24 games this season, Alex has played 24 matches too and Thiago Silva as well. Thiago Silva's been injured, but they've all played 24 matches."

Sakho is likely to feature against Montpellier at the Parc des Princes as PSG, currently five points clear atop Ligue 1, attempt to improve their poor form prior to Champions League outings this season, which has seen just four wins and as many defeats.

"It's a problem of experience and attitude," Ancelotti explained. "It's true we've lost four out of eight matches, but we've also won four. I hope that'll again be the case on Friday. The spirit is good, the players are focused on the game, and everyone knows just how important this match is."

He added: "We're still in several competitions, and all the games are important. To prepare matches well, we mustn't be thinking about anything else. Now we're thinking about Montpellier and the battle that awaits us. We'll then have four days to prepare the next game, that's enough. I understand everyone's getting excited about the [Barcelona] game, it's normal. But for us there's first Montpellier and then Barcelona."

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