Paris: Paris Saint-Germain celebrated David Beckham’s arrival in the French capital with an emphatic 4-0 rout of 10-man Toulouse on Friday that provisionally pushed the title favourites three points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mamadou Sakho and Gregory van der Wiel were all on target for PSG at Stade Municipal as Carlo Ancelotti’s side capped a memorable 24 hours in style.
A seventh win in eight games for PSG moved them onto 48 points with second-place Lyon away to Ajaccio on Sunday and Marseille, who are on 42, at home to basement side Nancy.
With all the off the field headlines a day after Beckham — England’s most capped outfield player — penned a five-month deal with the Parisians, there was little sign of the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star’s transfer causing any disruption to PSG’s title pursuit.
But he was still the talk of the night with PSG sporting director Leonardo revealing that the former England captain will start training on February 13.
“He will come with us to Valencia for the Champions League game the day before, but will not play. The idea is that he will start training on February 13,” said Leonardo, who also shrugged off doubts of employing a 37-year-old player.
“He is going to be a huge surprise for you,” said the Brazilian.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti, who worked with Beckham at AC Milan, said that the player needs to get fit and prove he deserves a place in the team.
“He needs to train and rediscover his physical condition,” said the Italian.
“He could play as a defensive midfielder or on the right side. He will play if he deserves to.”
PSG quickly found their stride on the pitch as Pastore struck with the game’s first meaningful chance on four minutes as he volleyed in Ezequiel’s Lavezzi’s floated cross via a deflection off the unwitting Serge Aurier.
Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada was equal to subsequent efforts from Pastore and Lucas, while Salvatore Sirigu had to be alert to keep out a shot from Franck Tabanou.
Ibrahimovic then doubled PSG’s advantage nine minutes before half-time with his league-leading 20th goal of the season as he connected sweetly with a Lucas cross to plant a powerful header low into the far corner.
Toulouse’s task was made all the more challenging as Cheikh M’Bengue was dismissed for a second yellow card just before the break after scything down Lucas.
Ahamada kept the home side in the contest with a pair of excellent saves to deny Ibrahimovic, the second an acrobatic fingertip stop to turn over the Swede’s attempted chip, before a desperate sliding block from Aurier thwarted the striker once more.
Ahamada though was powerless to stop an unmarked Sakho netting his first of the campaign on 70 minutes as the central defender steered in a far-post delivery with Lucas again the provider.
Second-half substitute Van der Wiel then added a fourth goal for the visitors’ two minutes later to cap a fine evening for the leaders.