Beckham’s PSG Ends 19-Year Wait for French Soccer TitlePeter-Joseph Hegarty
Paris Saint-Germain secured its first French soccer championship in 19 years and third overall with a 1-0 win at Lyon.
Jeremy Menez scored the only goal last night to give PSG, which was acquired by an investment arm of the Qatari government in 2011, an unbeatable seven-point lead with two games left. Second-place Marseille had left PSG needing a victory at Lyon to secure the title with its fourth straight win two days ago.
“We deserve to win this trophy,” PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi told his team’s website. “It’s a magnificent moment for the club and our supporters. I am so proud of our fans who have been right behind us through thick and thin. They deserve this title too after 19 years.”
David Beckham, soccer’s highest-earning player according to France Football magazine who joined PSG on a five-month contract at the end of January, came on as late substitute for Menez as he added a French championship to league titles in England, Spain and the U.S.
Lyon’s loss means Marseille, a 2-1 winner at home against Toulouse, qualifies directly for next season’s Champions League group stage. Lille, Nice or Saint-Etienne could yet take third spot from Lyon.
Barcelona yesterday celebrated its fourth Spanish championship in five years, and 22nd in total, with a 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid. An Alexis Sanchez strike and Gabi’s own goal gave Barca the comeback win after Radamel Falcao’s opener.
Barca was already assured of the title after second-place Real Madrid, the defending champion, drew 1-1 at Espanyol the day before.
“Winning this title has been a long process but we’ve done it,” Barca defender Dani Alves told his team’s website. “Now we have to celebrate it with the importance it deserves. If it were so easy to win La Liga, we wouldn’t have lost it last season.”
Juventus, which secured its record-extending 29th Italian league championship May 5, drew 1-1 with Cagliari two days ago.
Second-place Napoli beat Siena 2-1 yesterday, while Fiorentina defeated Palermo 1-0 to condemn its opponent to relegation from Serie A alongside Siena and last-place Pescara.
The third Champions League place from Italy will be decided in next weekend’s final round of games after 10-man AC Milan, which is two points above Fiorentina in third, was held to a scoreless draw at home by Roma last night.
Milan would seal third spot by winning at Siena on the final day, when Fiorentina travels to Pescara.
Bayern Munich and Ajax, who have already won the German and Dutch league titles, respectively, both won at the weekend. Bayern meets Bundesliga rival Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final on May 25.