Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos bade au revoir to the parish of Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday night during an entertaining 3-2 defeat to Clermont at the Parc des Princes.
The departures were confirmed hours before the final game of the Ligue 1 season.
The pair, who had animated countless Classicos between Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain, were thanked by the PSG executives for their contributions to two title-winning seasons.
However, it will be their lack of impact in the Champions League that will sully their legacy in the French capital.
At least Ramos scored during his Ligue 1 swansong. He headed in the opener after 16 minutes to launch a message of support for PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico who is recovering from a horse riding accident in Spain.
Minutes after Ramos’ goal, the hosts had a penalty.
Kylian Mbappé, seeking to secure the “Golden Boot” as Ligue 1’s top scorer for a record-equalling fifth time, took the spot kick and sent the Clermont goalkeeper Mory Diaw the wrong way to notch up his 29th goal of the season.
The rout seemed well and truly rolling. But sloppiness seeped in.
Marco Verratti gifted Clermont a first goal while trying to play out from defence. The Italy international’s back pass to goalkeeper Gigi Donnarumma was too weak and Johan Gastien ran on to the ball and slotted past Donnarumma, his face a picture of gleeful disbelief at the simplicity.
Eight minutes before half time, Clermont fluffed a chance to level from the penalty spot after Warren Zaire-Emery handled. Grejohn Kyei, who had an earlier goal chalked off due to a handball in the build-up, rolled his shot wide of Donnarumma’s right hand post.
On the stroke of half-time Clermont levelled when Mehdi Zeffane stabbed in after Donnarumma fumbled a cross.
Messi should have made it 3-2 in the 54th minute. Mbappé sped away on the counterattack and rather than going for a 30th goal of the season, he passed. Messi skied over the bar.
The Argentina skipper tried to atone for his sins five minutes later with a snapshot that Diaw palmed away for a corner.
Kyei eventually got his reward just after the hour mark. Neto Borges surged down the left and cut back for Elbasan Rashani who floated the ball into the penalty area and the 25-year-old Frenchman volleyed home.
Further down the Ligue 1 food chain, Rennes secured fourth and a place in next season’s Europa League with a 2-1 win at Brest.
And Lille finished fifth – the berth for the Europa Conference League – following a 1-1 draw at Troyes.
In the contest to avoid the drop into Ligue 2, Nantes beat already relegated Angers 1-0 to leapfrog Auxerre into the safety of 16th place. Auxerre return to the second tier after a season in the top flight following a 3-1 loss at home to Lens. It was their 19th defeat of the season.