Ezequiel Lavezzi enjoyed PSG support despite short-changing Ligue 1 giants
Before Paris Saint-Germain's comprehensive 4-1 home win over Stade de Reims last Saturday, Ezequiel Lavezzi received an emotional send-off by his former teammates and the French champions' staff ahead of his now completed move to Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.
The Argentina international was paraded on the Parc des Princes pitch and given a rousing farewell by members of the starting XI; while the home supporters honoured El Pocho by singing his name long after the South American had left the field.
Lavezzi's departure for Asia ends an almost four-year spell in Paris. The 30-year-old arrived in the French capital from SSC Napoli for around €30 million back in 2012 and quickly became a popular figure with the Ligue 1 leaders' fans.
However, there is no escaping the fact that even if affection towards Lavezzi from the fans never wavered, the former PSG No. 22 was largely disappointing during his time in France -- although there were some undoubted highs.
The man from Villa Gobernador Galvez will be best remembered for his stunning volleyed opener against Chelsea in the Champions League back in 2014 -- not to mention the Diego Maradona-esque celebration that followed.
Lavezzi's hat trick in the 6-1 demolition of Lille OSC last April was another moment that will not be forgotten in a hurry.
Putting the finishing touch on arguably the greatest team goal that PSG have scored in the Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) era in a 1-0 home win over Stade Rennais last January was also memorable.
However, overall, Lavezzi did not show enough over his three-and-a-half season stay in Paris to truly be considered a successful signing. Bearing in mind the hype that accompanied his arrival, the player ultimately failed to deliver what was promised.
The Argentine worked hard when on the pitch and displayed commitment every time he played, but he too often relied on his once searing pace that made him a celebrated talent in a pedestrian Serie A -- his finishing was also erratic at best.
Considering that Lavezzi was one of PSG's best-paid players right up until his move to China, Les Parisiens can be forgiven for feeling a little short-changed now that he has moved on.
When reflecting on the business done under QSI's ownership, the signing of Pocho will rank somewhere in the middle or lower.
With that said, it was not all bad with Lavezzi in Paris either and he leaves the Ligue 1 giants on good terms.
The wide man was a popular member of the squad and captain Thiago Silva, France international Blaise Matuidi and Dutch star Gregory van der Wiel all paid tribute to their dear friend when speaking with the capital club's official website after the 4-1 win over Reims.
Even coach Laurent Blanc, who had a prickly relationship with Lavezzi after his failure -- along with Edinson Cavani -- to report for a winter training camp in Morocco in late 2014, admitted that the fun-loving forward will be missed in his pre-Reims news conference.
Although Le President could still have used the South American for a bit of squad depth when his team's schedule is packed, it was obvious that he played no real role in the Frenchman's plans for the future.
It was the right decision from PSG to allow Lavezzi to leave now and it was also a good piece of business by the Ligue 1 champions. They managed to recoup some money in a transfer fee, as well as wiping his salary off the books entirely.
PSG supporters will remember Lavezzi the character fondly, but the Argentine does not leave much of a legacy on the Parc des Princes pitch -- despite an impressive eight-trophy haul.
Jonathan Johnson is based in Paris and the voice of PSG TV. He also writes for French Football Weekly. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.