"For a few seconds, the football world stopped turning," said radio station France Inter after David Beckham's 14-minute cameo helped Paris Saint-Germain FC beat Olympique de Marseille 2-0 on Sunday.
PSG reclaimed their three-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 after an enthralling 'classique', taking the lead after 11 minutes when Lucas's effort deflected off Nicolas N'Koulou to wrong-foot OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Élie Baup's side threw everything at the hosts, André-Pierre Gignac, Mathieu Valbuena and Rod Fanni coming close after the break before Zlatan Ibrahimović turned in PSG's second in added time.
However, even Ibrahimović was somewhat upstaged by Beckham. Formally introduced to the PSG fans before the game, the 115-times capped midfielder – who won six league titles with Manchester United FC and another with Real Madrid CF – earned a warm welcome from the 45,000-strong crowd, and the excitement reached a new pitch when he came on for Javier Pastore on 76 minutes.
The 37-year-old made barely ten touches as he became the oldest outfield player in Ligue 1 since Claude Makelele – now one of his coaches at PSG – in 2011. One of those touches, however, was a combination with Jérémy Ménez to set up Ibrahimović's goal, and he was the first to congratulate the Swede for his 22nd league strike of the campaign. "It was just a perfect day," Beckham said afterwards. "I feel like I'm playing for a very special team. The fans' welcome was incredible. I just want to thank them."
His PSG team-mates are thrilled to have him around too, it seems. "Beckham is a master, a star," said Lucas. "It's a pleasure to play with him. Every young player in the club will learn from him." Marco Verratti added: "I want to steal his secrets, and learn more from him." He may have a chance to do so on Wednesday; Beckham is expected to fill in for the suspended 20-year-old as PSG meet OM again in the French Cup round of 16.
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