Paris Saint-Germain manager Carlo Ancelotti has reacted angrily to claims that the club’s wealthy Qatari owners forced him to start David Beckham in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg tie against Barcelona.
37-year-old Beckham, who had previously made only one start and four substitute appearances since joining the club in January on a five-month contract, was a surprise choice for the clash at the Parc des Princes, as Ancelotti seemingly opted for the Englishman’s experience rather than the youthful exuberance of Marco Veratti in the quest to negate the considerable impacts of midfield duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
"It is wrong to say that (the club's owners from) Qatar said 'Beckham to play',” said Ancelotti.
"Everyone must understand that club presidents are very intelligent and cannot force a coach to a player. Because in this case, the coach can say to the President: 'Okay, you're doing the coaching and I go home'.
"Never in my career has a president forced me to bring a player, whether Berlusconi (AC Milan president) Abramovich (Chelsea chairman) or Nasser (Al-Khelaifi, president of PSG).”
Former Chelsea boss Ancelotti, who won a domestic double at Stamford Bridge in 2010, was also bemused at the criticism aimed at Beckham by sections of the press after the entertaining 2-2 draw. French newspaper L’Equipe awarded the midfielder a paltry 3/10 in their post-match player ratings.
He added: “Criticism of him (Beckham) is abnormal and unjust, he had a very good game, he followed exactly the strategy I asked, giving the ball quickly.
"If Paris was good in the first 30 minutes against Barca it's because Beckham was good, because he sought to play fast."
Beckham’s future has been the subject of much speculation of late, with Al-Khelafi having expressed his desire to keep the player in the French capital beyond the summer.