France jibe could lead to sanctions for Zlatan

UPDATED: Sweden's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face sanctions from football authorities after calling France a ‘shit country’ following a game with his French club side PSG.

France jibe could lead to sanctions for Zlatan
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during happier times in Paris. Photo: TT

Sweden's top striker in history took exception to some of the decisions made by referee Lionel Jaffredo following his side's 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux and was furious at the final whistle when he stormed down the tunnel.

"In 15 years, I have never seen such a referee. In this shit country, this country does not deserve PSG. We are too good for this country," the striker blasted in English at the final whistle.

Ibrahimovic had equalised twice for manager Laurent Blanc's side, who remain on the hunt for four trophies this season but Diego Rolan popped up in the 89th minute to steer the ball home when the central defence collapsed.
Politicians were soon sounding off about Ibrahimovic's words with the minister of sport demanding an apology and the National Front leader Marine Le Pen inviting the Sweden striker to leave the country.

"Those who consider France a shit country can leave it," she said. 

France's Sports Minister Patrick Jenner called the remarks "insulting", while Jerome Guedj, a leading Socialist party politician, called the remarks "unacceptable". 

"Let him play football and shut up, or at least be respectful of this country, the football supporters who were also insulted."

The striker has said sorry for his remarks.

"I would like to apologise if anyone felt offended. I want to make it clear that my remarks were not directed at France or the French. I was talking about football, I lost the match and I accept that but I don't accept when the referee does not follow the rules."
"I expressed myself when I was upset and everyone knows that in these moments, the words surpass the meaning," Ibrahimovic said in a statement to news agency AFP.
The French league has said it will study the Swedish player's latest outburst at a meeting on Thursday and could take sanctions.

Meanwhile the French referees union, SAFE, hit out at what it called "a new torrent of hate and verbal violence" by Ibrahimovic.

"There are limits that cannot be and must not be crossed," the union said, highlighting the "growing violence" at football matches even at local level. 

PSG manager Blanc meanwhile said his side had struggled for fitness and motivation after their efforts against Chelsea earlier in the week.
"We did something special on Wednesday and everyone is talking about it which is normal but to play 10 against 11 for 90 minutes against a team like Chelsea leaves its mark," said the coach who led Bordeaux to the 2009 French title.
"It's always difficult to get back into league matches after the Champions League and today we didn't have the capacities to win, mainly because we were not fresh.”
Swedish football hero Ibrahimovic makes headlines almost as much for his offhand comments as for his footballing prowess.
He has previously made remarks including "World Cup without me isn't worth watching" and mocked a local reporter who didn't have his own camera by asking “so it is low-budget?”.
Ibrahimovic, who has just returned from one two match suspension and will be suspended for the two leg Champions league quarter final for his sending off in another game last week, could face a new ban which could see him miss the key French game against Olympique Marseille on April 5th.
He has become an icon for Paris fans and a wax effigy was unveiled at the Musee Grevin in Paris last month. But the latest trouble to hit the star could heighten speculation about his future at the club.


Zlatan has been ‘cured’ of coronavirus: AC Milan

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been given the all-clear to end his quarantine period and return to action after testing negative for coronavirus, the Serie A club announced on Friday.

Zlatan has been 'cured' of coronavirus: AC Milan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a goal in September. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Milan confirmed in a statement that the Swedish striker had “tested negative” twice in a row, as stipulated in the protocol to be able to lift the quarantine procedure.
Ibrahimovic, 39, sounded a more triumphal note on his social media: “You are cured! The health authority says the quarantine is over, you can go out!”, he wrote on Twitter.

The announcement comes a day after Milan said Ibrahimovic had tested positive a second time for Covid-19, putting in doubt his participation in the Milan derby on October 17.
Ibrahimovic first tested positive on September 24.
The derby remains in doubt with two other Milan players and five from Inter currently in self-quarantine.
In spite of his absence, Milan have made a decent start to the season, having climbed to second in Serie A after winning all three of their games and reaching the group stages of the Europa League.