David Beckham,skipper for the night,bade a tearful Parisian farewell as the former England star made his final appearance at the Parc des Princes for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain before heading into retirement.
Last week,Beckham had helped PSG to their first league title since 1994 with a win over Lyon,and then announced he would retire at the end of the season having captured a championship in a fourth different league after England,Spain
and the United States.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti made the 38-year-old captain last night and Beckham duly basked in the applause as the capital club coasted to a 3-1 win over relegated Brest capped with two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Beckham had a hand in the other Paris goal,his corner finding Blaise Matuidi as the former Manchester United star signed off with an assist while Charlison Benschop replied for Brest.
There followed a standing ovation for Beckham as Ancelotti withdrew him with 10 minutes remaining and the former Manchester United,Real Madrid,AC Milan and LA Galaxy star,watched by wife Victoria and his parents,left the arena in tears to warm applause from his teammates,who each afforded him a hug.
He reappeared after the final whistle as the lights went down and lasers cut through the night sky,to the ear-shattering accompaniment of electropop as PSG prepared for
a party worthy of a send off for anyone — not just England’s most high-profile footballing ambassador of recent decades.
Beckham may only have made barely a dozen appearances for PSG since joining on loan in January yet his presence has spurred the club on,as well as giving the French game a huge shot in the arm in terms of publicity.
Elsewhere yesterday,the kind of publicity the French game does not need again surfaced just a week after celebrations marking PSG’s title success degenerated into
violence which forced the cancellation of a gala dinner in the capital.
This time it was Lyon and Marseille fans who clashed in disturbances which left 16 people injured.
Lyon decried the troublemakers after “serious incidents” during the afternoon before Marseille’s game in nearby Saint Etienne.
Lyon indicated on their official website that the club would seek to take legal action “in view of the seriousness of what has happened and the injuries.”
The club added it appeared that supporters had clashed after hardcore fans of the club made their way back home after their match with Nice was postponed because of bad weather.
The Paris violence a week earlier saw group of troublemakers fight running battles with police in disturbances which left several people injured and 47 people
On the field,Marseille,already guaranteed runners-up spot,had nothing to celebrate either as they lost 2-0 at Saint Etienne which left the latter in fourth spot,a point
behind Lyon,after a winless run of three games.
With their extra game at Nice still in hand,Lyon will still expect to hold onto third place and thereby clinch a Champions League qualifying round berth.
Saint Etienne,who saw off Marseille with first-half goals from Loic Perrin and Brandao,are guaranteed a Europa League berth at worst having lifted the League Cup.
Elsewhere,Nancy are relegated after going down 2-1 at home to Bastia while Troyes are still alive after beating Bordeaux 1-0 meaning they can still just catch Sochaux and Ajaccio although their poor goal difference means they will unlikely overhaul Evian,also three points clear with one round of games remaining.