David Beckham made his long-awaited debut for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday against Marseille, with his team running out 2-0 winners in the Ligue 1 clash.
Quiet aside from it being the former LA Galaxy star's first appearance in the French championship, the result ensured PSG went three points clear at the top of the table ahead of Lyon, while they now have an eight-point gap over Marseille.
As is usual with the midfielder, Beckham's mere presence caused quite a stir, while his involvement in the second goal of the game gave plenty of column inches to those watching his first appearance for PSG with interest.
Beckham played a smart return pass to Jeremy Menez, who set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the 2-0 strike, after Nicolas N'Koulou had earlier scored an own goal.
After the game, Beckham was quick to play tribute to the fans and admit that he had a few pre-game nerves (via BBC).
The atmosphere in the stadium and the reception I got was pretty incredible both before the game and then when I came on. It makes it easier when you win. There was slight nerves. I have always said it was a big challenge, since I signed for Paris. Playing in America for six years and then wanting another challenge meant there was a little bit of pressure. But I enjoyed coming on.
However, the veteran also made it clear that he would be looking for more minutes as the season progressed.
I have always known that as a new player coming in after Christmas and at my age, I don't expect to have a starting position in the XI but it is what you always want as a player. I am proud to be part of this team and was proud to be out there but I will take it step by step and as long as I can come on and make a difference, I would love to that.
In terms of the midfielder fitting into the PSG team on a regular basis from the start, B/R's Sam Tighe has examined where he might fit in, and who might miss out.
Elsewhere, there was plenty of support for Beckham's quarter-of-an-hour appearance for PSG, firstly from CNN:
Some neat early passes showed he has lost none of his ability and the best was reserved for the very last as in the first minute of injury time Beckham's neat chip over the top led to the clinching second for PSG.
UEFA.com obtained some quotes from Beckham's team mates, including Lucas Moura, who said, "Beckham is a master, a star. It's a pleasure to play with him. Every young player in the club will learn from him." Marco Verratti said, "I want to steal his secrets, and learn more from him."
Guardian.co.uk brought a roundup of the reaction from the French newspapers, translated for English readers.
Le Parisian: A chorus of praise after the premiere of David Beckham. Almost three months after his last match, the Englishman participated in the last 15 minutes of the game when victory was still far from being achieved, arriving in the snow like a Christmas story. From his first ball in Paris, Professor Beckham played accurate passes, seeking Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic. He then focused on his defensive duties.
L'Equipe: Presented and cheered by the Parc des Princes a few minutes before kick-off to the tune of Hey Jude by the Beatles, the [former] England midfielder had to wait until the 76th minute to become the 400th player in the history of PSG wearing the red and blue. Beckham, in the space of 15 minutes, showed that he was not just a marketing coup for PSG, involved in the second goal scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Needless to say, the world of Twitter was also given plenty of chance to get Beckham trending as a succession of pundits, players and fans had their say on his first appearance back in Europe.
Who'd have thought back in August we'd be seeing David Beckham and Joey Barton playing on opposing sides in Ligue 1. bbc.in/1248yto— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) February 24, 2013
Former England captain David Beckham has come off the bench to make his debut for PSG. #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 24, 2013
Beckham's first 3 passes when he came on were pure class but star of the night was Lucas Moura - what a player #PSG— talkSPORTDrive (@talkSPORTDrive) February 25, 2013
If there was a game of life, Beckham would have won— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) February 24, 2013
Pastore out, Beckham in - the awaited moment twitter.com/RMadridGirl/st…— RMadridGirl (@RMadridGirl) February 24, 2013
God almighty this country is desperate. Now invented a word so that Beckham can be spoken about in the goal. Apparently he got a semi assist— Kevin Gimenez (@KevNGxx) February 24, 2013
Statement of faith in Beckham by Ancelotti, bringing him on to steady things with PSG clinging on to 1-0 lead. Beckham didn't let him down— Oliver Holt (@OllieHolt22) February 24, 2013
Beckham registers that most American of stats - a second assist. He led the MLS last season with five.— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) February 24, 2013
Beckham will likely take his place in the PSG squad for their upcoming French Cup fixture—also against Marseille—before the Champions League Last 16 second leg takes place against Valencia on March 6.
With Marco Verratti suspended for that game, that may yet be the moment that Beckham makes his first start for his new club.
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