France jibe could lead to sanctions for Zlatan

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

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.