PARIS (AFP) - Lyon were crowned French champions for a record sixth time in a row without even having to lace up their boots on Saturday.
Gerrard Houllier's men had already all but mathematically ensured they would win the title despite being held to a 0-0 draw by Rennes in midweek.
But having spoilt their title celebration aspirations on Wednesday, Rennes did the league leaders a favour by beating Toulouse 3-2 on Saturday, removing the one remaining obstacle to Lyon's celebrations.
Houllier insisted that winning the title without playing took away none of the gloss.
"This title is confirmation in my mind for what we as good as achieved with our win over Nancy (last month)," he said.
"We had 65 points (then) and I knew that for our chasers that would be difficult to match, especially with our goal difference advantage."
He added: "It's very satisfying. Last year was a five-in-a-row record, this year it's a European (big leagues) record."
Former Liverpool striker Bruno Cheyrou scored the Rennes winner with just three minutes to play, ending Toulouse's all but extinct hopes of winning the league.
Toulouse suffered a double blow as they also lost second place - and direct entry into the Champions League group stages next season - to Lens who beat Le Mans 1-0 at home.
Lyon thus beat the record five titles in a row that they set last season, although such is their domination domestically that it may be many years and records before they are dethroned.
Earlier a double from Portuguese striker Pauleta lifted Paris Saint Germain to a 4-0 win over relegation-rivals Nantes, a victory which could prove vital to the Parisians' bid to beat the drop.
Rockbottom Nantes, however, look set for the second division next season just six years after they won the last of their domestic titles, as the side from southern Brittany showed a lack of fighting spirit during a match in which they rarely threatened their hosts.
PSG are now riding a four-game unbeaten streak that includes three victories and a solitary draw.
But boss Paul Le Guen warned against complacency, despite his side moving six points clear of the drop zone with just five games to play.
Asked if the win would be enough to guarantee safety, Le Guen replied: "Definitely not! After the match against Rennes (the last game PSG lost) there were headlines such as: Paris are sinking and Paris are going straight down.
"But I don't think the same way. Today we have the opposite: Paris are saved. I don't believe that either.
"We have to stay on our guard and ready. It would be dangerous to think that way (that we are saved). But for sure the 10 points from 12 has done us a lot of good and we can allow ourselves to be a little more confident."
Pauleta - who had been left out of the starting team for the past few matches - opened with a superb free kick taken after 17 minutes with midfielder Jerome Rothen finding the net for the first time this season two minutes before the break.
Pauleta claimed his second on 65 and a minute later helped Peguy Luyindula score the fourth which compounded the misery of Nantes.
PSG now have 38 points and Le Guen believes that his side need 43 points to survive, but the Parisians face a tough end to the season with ties against Toulouse, Lyon, Nice, Troyes and Lorient on the cards.
Only a miracle can save the Canaries who look set for the drop for the first time since their first division adventure began in 1963.
Modest M'Bami scored a winner four minutes from time as Marseille leaped into a UEFA Cup qualification place with a 2-1 home win over Troyes, who remain third from bottom.
Lyon play away to Auxerre on Snuday in a match that will now have a party atmosphere from the visiting supporters.
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