Thiago Motta: PSG ‘adventure’ just starting amid retirement

Rennes handed PSG their first Ligue 1 defeat at home since March 2016 and booked their place in next season’s Europa League.

PARIS — Retiring Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta believes that his “adventure” with the French champions is “only just beginning” after bidding farewell to Parc des Princes as a player on Saturday.

Motta was the subject of a tribute day as PSG suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Rennes in Ligue 1, with the Italian veteran conceding a penalty.

The 35-year-old was emotional as he moves into coaching with the capital club’s under-19 side.

“As far as I am concerned, this adventure with PSG is only just beginning,” Motta said. “I have enjoyed myself here and this was a special moment for me. My emotions are mixed, right now. I arrived at PSG a long time ago and I have experienced some great moments, which will obviously stay with me.

“I am pleased with the journey we have enjoyed together, so I take this opportunity to once again thank the club and everybody working here each day to put us on the pitch in the best conditions.

“Perhaps we do not recognise the importance of winning four French trophies in a season but with hindsight, we will see the true value of all these titles.”

Thiago Motta

Departing coach Unai Emery also chose to pay tribute to Motta, even though it was his own Parc des Princes farewell, calling the former Inter Milan and Barcelona man “a spectacular player.”

“Every match at Parc des Princes is special for us and it was even more so because it was our last at home this season,” the Spaniard said. “All of the great moments experienced here with our supporters will live on.

“The staff and the team, everybody enjoyed a special moment celebrating the title. The Parc also got to salute Thiago, a spectacular player. He has had a great career, notably with his 200 or so PSG appearances — we will all remember him as the great player that he has been.”

PSG are expected to announce Emery’s replacement on Sunday or sometime next week, with Thomas Tuchel the heavy favourite to succeed the Basque.

Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.