Ezequiel Lavezzi honoured by PSG teammates ahead of China move
Paris Saint-Germain's players gave an emotional farewell to Ezequiel Lavezzi as the Ligue 1 leaders continued their march towards another title.
The hosts, led by captain Thiago Silva, gave Lavezzi a rapturous send-off before kick-off in Saturday's 4-1 win over Reims following the Argentina international's decision to join Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune.
Lavezzi has spent three-and-a-half seasons at the Parc des Princes, winning the league title three times, the Coupe de la Ligue twice and the Coupe de France once.
Thiago Silva said on the PSG website: "It was a special match with Pocho Lavezzi leaving us. We wanted to say goodbye to him and it wasn't easy. He is an incredible player and an incredible person. It's all the better for his new club who will discover a really top guy. We wanted to mark the occasion and I think he appreciated it.''
Midfielder Blaise Matuidi said: "It's true he has been a very important player for us on the pitch and an important teammate off the pitch.
"Now he's moving on and we wish him all the very best for the future. We'll miss him, he was a great element in the changing room ... but we wish him well.''
And right-back Gregory van der Wiel, who opened the scoring against Reims, added: "He's a great guy who brings a lot to the team on a human level. He was always there with a smile, a joke and he's a super player. It's sad for us to see him go, but we're happy for him.''
Van der Wiel's goal was cancelled out by Prince Oniangue, but two goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, either side of an Edinson Cavani strike, gave PSG their 23rd win from 27 league games this season. The other four games have been draws.
This latest victory came four days after a 2-1 win over Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, and Matuidi was pleased to keep the momentum going.
"I think we did a good job tonight and we're very happy with the performance,'' he said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy, with the fatigue from Tuesday's match against Chelsea, but we continue our forward march and are still undefeated in the league this season.''
Meanwhile, manager Laurent Blanc eased injury fears for both Angel Di Maria and Marco Verratti, who were both substituted before the start of the second half.
"Nothing bad, but there is risk in playing these matches four days after a Champions League game.
"It has used up a lot of energy, even for you [television reporter] I think! There is always a decompression three or four days afterwards.
"Di Maria has a small muscular issue and Marco an inflammation which is not very serious either.
"These are small problems which we will need to be careful with, but they are nothing serious."