Sarcastic Ibrahimovic takes a dig at English media

Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept the media guessing after being quizzed about his contract renewal — about to come up in three months time.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is happy with PSG's coach Laurent Blanc getting two-year extension with the club.   -  AP

Appearing to take a sly dig at the English media, Paris Saint-Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he realised his greatness only after being recognised by scribes from England. An interaction with Ibrahimovic is never complete till he is asked about his stunner against England in 2013.

“Actually, the English media will only consider you great player once you score against their side. Now I am a good player since I scored against them,” the sarcasm was not lost on anyone.

Great teams need great players but icing on the cake is when a great player turns out to be a great character.

That is precisely the reason why Ibrahimovic ticks all boxes for Paris Saint-Germain by not only being their biggest catch till date but, also the greatest player to have donned the club’s jersey.

So when one asks him about how different he finds his current coach Laurent Blanc’s style is from former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, one would find the Swedish legend giving an answer that seems subtle but one can read between the lines.

“Both have more or less similar style of coaching. Both believe in ball possession. Barcelona is a great team. Also Pep grew up through Barcelona system. He played there and then coached there. He got a great team to coach. On the other hand, Blanc prepared a team in the last two years. Four years ago, PSG didn’t exist (compared to European clubs). So Blanc deserves every credit,” the 34-year-old told PTI during an interaction at the ‘Mixed Zone’, after watching PSG play out a goalless draw against Lille in a French Ligue 1 game.

Ibrahimovic seemed happy that coach Blanc has got a two-year extension with the club.

“I don’t know the terms of his contract though,” the 34-year-old wryly added.

Questioned if he will miss Jose Mourinho on the Chelsea bench during coming Tuesday’s Champions League game, he gave a candid reply.

“Everybody will miss Mourinho a little bit. I think he will get a club soon. Coaches do have a tough life. If a team plays badly, it is the coach who gets sacked.”

PSG enjoys 20 plus point cushion in Ligue 1, which has become lopsided, due to the gulf in standard between them and other French clubs. But Zlatan thinks one can’t let the intensity lessen as they train their eyes firmly on the Champions League.

“It is important for everybody from players to coaches to win every title (including Ligue 1). The objective of playing is very important. Similarly Champions League has been a long-term project. The progress that PSG has made in the last 3-4 years is amazing.”

He also kept the media guessing after being quizzed about his contract renewal — about to come up in three months time.

“Something big will happen. Day by day the excitement will increase — what will happen,” he said as he burst into laughter.

So is ‘China calling’, Zlatan kept his card close to his chest.

“You never know,” he would say.

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