Ibrahimovic’s time with PSG marked by ‘Zlatanisms’
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Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovc’s contribution to Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) current domination of the French Ligue 1 football championship is unquestionable. But some will remember him for his quips in the press as much as for his playing.
Ibrahimovic was crowned France's player of the year three times during his four-year tenure at PSG. But his colourful remarks during that time also gave sports reporters plenty of material to write about when he was off the pitch.
Usually arrogant, often funny, and sometimes controversial, “Zlatanisms” frequently made headlines in France and overseas.
True to form, he announced his departure from PSG on Friday with the tweet: “My last game tomorrow at Parc des Princes. I came like a king, left like a legend.”
It was just the latest ode to himself that is part of a tradition going back years before he even moved to France.
Below are some of his more notable quips from his time in the French capital.
"It's true I don't know that much about Ligue 1, but Ligue 1 knows who I am." (July 2012)
Ibrahimovic wasted no time in establishing his role on the team and in the French league. He dropped the gem of a comment above during his unveiling at the Parc des Princes stadium.
"We are looking for an apartment. But if we don't find anything, then I'll probably buy the hotel." (September 2012)
Finding an apartment in Paris is notoriously complicated for expats, but not when your name is Zlatan. The Swedish striker was referring to Le Bristol, a five-star luxury hotel with a history spanning three centuries, where he and his family first lived after he was transferred to PSG.
"The fans are very demanding. Which is strange in view of what they had in the past. Before they had nothing.” (March 2013)
PSG had just beat Nancy 2-1 at home, but a slew of missed opportunities roused some whistling from the home crowd at the end of the match. Ibrahimovic didn’t let them have the last word.
"I don’t need a scary nickname. You just have to watch me to feel scared" (August 2013)
That was Ibrahimovic’s responce to a French TV journalist who wanted to know why he didn’t have a scary name, like fellow teammate Edson Cavani (El Matador) or at the time Monaco striker Radamel Falcao (El Tigre).
“One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch” (November 2013)
Sweden failed to qualify for the Brazil 2014 World Cup when it lost to Portugal in a dramatic match in which Ibrahimovic scored both of his side’s goals. The disappointed PSG striker also acknowledged it was probably his last chance to play in a World Cup.
"With a hat trick there is no better way to start 2014. The standing ovation? It was easy because there were only 500 people in the stands, but yes, I’m happy.” (January 2014)
PSG kicked off 2014 by winning the French Cup against Ligue 2’s Brest. Ibrahimovic’s three goals earned him a standing ovation from fans at the rival’s stadium. Ibrahimovic was not impressed however.
"Finishing second is like being last.” (December 2014)
That was Ibrahimovic’s response after finding out that a Swedish magazine had named him the country’s second best athlete of all time after tennis legend Björn Borg.
“In 15 years I have never seen a worse referee. This shit country. This country does not deserve PSG.” (March 2015)
Even the great Zlatan had to apologise after that one. PSG had just lost 3-2 against Bordeaux.
“I have put Sweden on the world map and now I have put France on the world map too.” (November 2015)
Speaking ahead of Sweden’s first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off against Denmark, Ibrahimovic hinted that if his squad did not make the continental competition he might quit playing for his home country. Luckily for us they made it.