Ibrahimovic: Age is just a number
With his Paris Saint-Germain contract winding down, Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrives in England with a fresh intrigue about his playing future.
After spells in Spain and Italy, will the Swedish forward manage to squeeze in a stint in the English Premier League?
At 34, Ibrahimovic is running out of time.
"I am not in discussion with nobody because for me it's not the time," Ibrahimovic said yesterday, on the eve of PSG's Champions League game at Chelsea. "I'm not worried about the future because for me the future looks good after the season I'm doing. People say I'm old. I'm only warming up.
"I don't believe it's the end of my career. Age is just a number and I feel young, I feel very young."
Ibrahimovic never seems to be short of admirers and is still being linked with leading clubs in his advanced footballing years.
Scoring four goals for Sweden against England in 2012 managed to gain him more devotees here.
"After my four goals, my relation(ship) became perfect (with the English)," Ibrahimovic said. "Before there was no relation(ship)."
How today's opponents could have done with a sharp-shooter like Ibrahimovic this season during an alarming domestic decline.
Ibrahimovic's first-leg goal helped PSG to a 2-1 victory in the first leg of its Champions League game in the round of 16 against Chelsea last month.
It was a rarity in an otherwise prolific career: a first goal in four meetings with Chelsea. Ibrahimovic has netted only four goals in 19 games against English clubs.
The statistics show Ibrahimovic is not as lethal in the final rounds of the Champions League compared with other competitions. The former AC Milan, Ajax, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus player averages 0.48 goals per group-stage match more than double his knockout-phase ratio of 0.21.
"He's got the physique, the talent, and the experience," former Juventus teammate Jonathan Zebina told L'Equipe newspaper. "For me, the explanation can only be mental. Does he put himself under too much pressure?"
There isn't as much pressure domestically where he enjoys a 0.6 goal per game ratio in the French league which PSG lead by 23 points.
PSG have won three straight French titles and are seeking the only major prize to elude both Ibrahimovic and his Qatari-owned club: the European Cup.
"It was almost an obsession, then I started to mature ... I will do my best to win it, but it will not change the player I am," said Ibrahimovic, who joined PSG in 2012. "What we have done in three-and-a-half years I believe is amazing stuff."
It is the third consecutive season Chelsea and PSG are meeting in the Champions League.
Chelsea's success in 2014 came when Ibrahimovic missed the second leg through injury. PSG survived Ibrahimovic's sending-off at Stamford Bridge last season to advance to the quarterfinals.