Swedish forward convinced he has achieved legendary status in Paris.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has confirmed that he is to leave Paris St-Germain at the end of the summer.
The Swedish forward announced his departure via Twitter in typically modest fashion.
He has yet to announce his destination though he has been linked with a return to Milan and a number of clubs in England, although for this most Hollywood of footballers, a move to MLS must also be a possibility.
PSG, who were confirmed as French champions weeks ago, host Nantes on Saturday before ending their season in the French Cup final on 21 May against Marseille. Last month, Manchester City knocked PSG out of the Champions League, a trophy he has never won, despite winning league titles with various clubs on 13 separate occasions. With Ibrahimovic turning 35 later this year, that loss could have marked his final opportunity to win Europe’s elite competition and may have influenced his decision to leave PSG.
The striker has won the French title four times with PSG, the Italian title four times, with Milan and Inter, the Spanish title with Barcelona and the Dutch title twice with Ajax. He also won Serie A twice with Juventus but they were stripped of the titles in the fall-out from the Calciopoli scandal.
He became PSG’s all-time leading goal scorer this season and is within one goal of Carlos Bianchi’s record for a French league season after scoring his 36th in a 1-1 draw at Bordeaux.
At the end of the domestic season, Ibrahimovic will represent Sweden at this summer’s Euro 2016 finals.
If that is the last Europe sees of Ibrahimovic he shall be missed, as much for his outrageously inflated opinion of himself, as for his phenomenal skills on the pitch. Last year he suggested (tongue in cheek, one hopes) that a Zlatan statue could one day replace the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Here, culled mainly from his entertaining autobiography, are some of his more memorable quotes.
When Arsene Wenger invited him to take a trial…
“Arsene Wenger asked me to have a trial with Arsenal when I was 17. I turned it down. Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”
Asked by a female reporter about rumours he was gay…
“Come over to my house with your sister, baby, and I’ll show you who’s gay!”
When asked what he got his wife for her birthday…
“Nothing, she already has Zlatan.”
Of his feud with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola…
“Then Guardiola started his philosopher thing. I was barely listening. Why would I? It was advanced bullshit about blood, sweat and tears, that kind of stuff.”
Asked about Lionel Messi, a former teammate at Barca…
“Lionel Messi is awesome. He’s unbelievable, but I don’t really know him. We are totally different. He came to Barça as a 13-year old. He’s raised in that culture and has no problems with that ‘school’ shit. In the team, the play is all around him, pretty naturally actually. He’s brilliant, but now I had arrived [at Barca] and scored more goals than him.”
Asked to predict the outcome of Sweden’s World Cup play-off tie against Portugal…
“Only God know…You’re talking to him now.”
After Sweden failed to qualify for last summer’s World Cup…
“One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch so it is not worthwhile to wait for the World Cup.”