Mon, May 20, 2013 - Page 19 News List

LIGUE 1: Beckham bids Paris a teary farewell

FITTING END:David Beckham set up Paris Saint-Germain’s second goal in their 3-1 victory, in what was probably the last match of his memorable career

Reuters, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain’s English midfielder David Beckham walks off the pitch after their match against Brest on Saturday at Parc des Princes in Paris, France.

Photo: AFP

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice, while David Beckham produced an emotional Parc des Princes farewell as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) beat bottom club Stade Brestois 29 3-1 on a memorable night on Saturday.

Sweden striker Ibrahimovic took his league tally this season to 29 goals, a personal best.

Ex-England skipper Beckham, who will retire at the end of the season, broke down in tears when he was substituted by Ezequiel Lavezzi in the 81st minute.

Beckham, who was named skipper against Brest, was hugged by his teammates as he left the pitch to a standing ovation, having set up Blaise Matuidi for the second goal.

It was the former Manchester United midfielder’s 10th league appearance for PSG and it is not yet clear whether he will take part in the last game of the season at Lorient next weekend.

Beckham was the second-last player to get to the center of the pitch where the players and staff were presented with the league trophy.

Hello, Goodbye, a Beatles song, was played over the public address system as a film showed highlights of his time at the club before Beckham walked towards the podium with a St George’s flag wrapped round his shoulders.

“I want to say thank you to everybody in Paris, to my teammates, to the staff, to the fans,” the 38-year-old former Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy player said. “To finish my career here could not be any more special. I want to enjoy my family now, I have all the souvenirs I want now so I’m very, very happy. Merci Paris. I’m very sad to be leaving, but thank you.”

Elsewhere, second from bottom AS Nancy-Lorraine were relegated after a 2-1 home defeat by SC Bastia left them five points from safety.

Emotions also ran high at Montpellier Herault as Rene Girard, the coach who led them to their first Ligue 1 title last season, said farewell to the fans after announcing earlier this year that he was leaving.

Eighth-placed Montpellier drew 0-0 against LOSC Lille Metropole, who are fifth and received a severe jolt to their hopes of playing in next season’s Champions League.

With 61 points, Lille trail third-placed Olympique Lyonnais by two points.

Lyon, whose visit to sixth-placed OGC Nice was put back 24 hours until yesterday because of heavy rain, are one point ahead of AS Saint-Etienne after Les Verts won 2-0 against Olympique de Marseille.

Marseille are 10 points behind PSG and assured of second spot. The top two qualify for the Champions League, while the team in third go through to the preliminary round of the competition.

Most of the PSG players had dyed their hair red and blue and started the game brightly against Brest in front of a crowd of 44,983 that included Beckham’s wife, Victoria, and mother, Sandra.

Ibrahimovic put Carlo Ancelotti’s team ahead after five minutes with a cross-shot after collecting a through ball from Clement Chantome.

Matuidi then volleyed in Beckham’s corner before Ibrahimovic made it 3-0 from a splendid free-kick on 36 minutes.

Charlison Benschop pulled one back for Brest with nine minutes left.

Beckham joined PSG in January and although he made a minimal impact on the team, he won praise as a great professional and a friendly teammate.

“It was very emotional because of his career and the experience he brought to us,” France center back Mamadou Sakho said.

“He brought us his joie de vivre and his simplicity. He’s a very humble chap,” Sakho added.

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