Barton not scared of Beckham, PSG
MARSEILLE, France (AP)
Marseille midfielder Joey Barton says David Beckham is no longer a much-feared opponent and that Paris Saint-Germain's star signing will not pose a major threat when the French title rivals meet Sunday.
The former England captain is set to make his debut for PSG after joining the team in late January for five months.
"He causes a lot less fear compared to when he played in the Premier League. It would be naive to concentrate on David Beckham."
Barton, 30, has settled into the French game after a turbulent career in England, and third-placed Marseille stand five points behind this weekend's opponents in the league table.
The significance of the fixture is not lost on Barton, but less so because of its traditional status as the most fiercely contested match in France, and more because of its implications in points terms.
Barton said: "I've experienced Manchester City-Manchester United, Sunderland-Newcastle and QPR-Chelsea. The electric atmosphere doesn't worry me, it's even the norm for me. I am experienced, I know the score. There's nothing me for me in a derby.
"The season has already given a lot of surprises and twists. And we're not the types to give up. Nor are (second-placed) Lyon.
"We remain motivated and concentrated even if we haven't been very strong in recent matches. This week could change our season."
PSG and Marseille meet again in the Coupe de France quarterfinals on Wednesday week, February 27.
"If we win on Sunday and go through on Wednesday, everything changes," Barton said. "The pressure will be on Paris. Even without superstars like at PSG, we are solid and when we play like a team, we play well."