David Beckham and Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept possession in the corner of the pitch, playing down the clock as they closed in on winning the league title in a fourth different country. For Paris Saint-Germain, it was to be its first in 19 years.
After spending more than €250 million on players by its cash-rich Qatari owners, PSG’s long wait to be crowned French league champions was over.
A 1-0 win at Lyon courtesy of Jeremy Menez’s second-half goal ensured the trophy was secured with two rounds remaining. For Beckham and Ibrahimovic, two of football’s biggest names, it was just the latest triumph in careers long used to success.
Beckham now has 10 league winners’ medals from his time at PSG, Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic has won championships at five clubs PSG, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Ajax and there were two with Juventus that were later revoked because of the 2006 match-fixing scandal. It was a third league title for PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti after winning with Milan and Chelsea, but it was his future rather than the past that has dominated speculation. The Italian has been linked with a move away, but he gave away nothing on Sunday.
The final whistle sparked scenes of jubilation at the Stade de Gerland and in Paris, where hundreds of fans began gathering on the Champs-Elysees.
Milan misses chance
Meanwhile in Italy, AC Milan missed a chance to clinch third spot in Serie A and a place in the Champions League playoffs when it was held 0-0 at home by AS Roma in a bad-tempered match.
The host had midfielder Sulley Muntari sent off just before halftime for grabbing the referee’s arm while Roma’s 36-year-old captain Francesco Totti was dismissed for elbowing in stoppage time.
The match was briefly halted in the second half because of racist behaviour by Roma fans, and restarted after warnings were announced over the public address system.