Champions League

‘He’s the boss and they use him perfectly’

'He's the boss and they use him perfectly'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch on Wednesday. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/TT
Sweden's outspoken top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has enjoyed high praise from Chelsea's manager and the boss of his own club side PSG, but refused to say whether he's planning a move to the Premier League.
Ibrahimovic created the opening goal for Adrien Rabiot and then volleyed in a 67th-minute winner as French champions PSG won 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday to complete a 4-2 aggregate victory.
The outspoken Swede, sent off during PSG's success against Chelsea in last season's competition, has faced criticism throughout his career for failing to reproduce his domestic form in European competition, but his club's manager Laurent Blanc said that he had proven his worth.
“Zlatan played a match in keeping with what he's done this season,” the former France defender told reporters in his post-match press conference.
“You always have doubts because it's Ligue 1. That's the truth. You ask if he can play like that in the Champions League. He gave his response tonight.”
“He has important qualities for us. He moves the two centre-backs around in the opposing team.”
“Technically he sees things very quickly. When he drops deep – which we ask him to do – he helps put our game in place. He played a great match like lots of PSG players tonight, like pretty much the whole team.
“It won't give him confidence as he already has huge confidence in himself. But a goal and an assist will do him well, and the coach and the club get the benefit.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the pitch on Wednesday. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/TT
Meanwhile Chelsea's interim manager Guus Hiddink also heralded Ibrahimovic, whose contract expires at the end of the season, when he was asked if the 34-year-old could cut it in the Premier League.
“He's proving already many, many years what kind of player he is,” said the Dutchman, who lost goal-scorer Diego Costa and Eden Hazard to injury in the second half.
“He's a personality, he's the boss in this team and they use him perfectly.”
“He's not the youngest, but for his age, for a footballer he's doing very well. He can adapt himself, also through his big personality, in any league in Europe.”
However the Swede refused to speculate about ongoing rumours that he is planning to leave Paris.
“When I leave PSG? Okay you already said it,” he told reporters.
“I have another three months with PSG, so for the moment I'm not talking to anybody. It's not the moment for it.”
With Chelsea 10 points below the top four in the Premier League, they face next season being almost certainly their first without Champions League football since Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
Sweden's only team to participate in the contest in recent years is Malmö FF but they were knocked out in the early stages of the competition and lost 8-0 to Real Madrid in their final match.