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Could defeat spell end of road for Zlatan at PSG?

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Could defeat spell end of road for Zlatan at PSG?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: AP Photo/Jon Super
08:30 CEST+02:00
Swedish star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be edged out of Paris Saint-Germain as the club attempts a rebuilding exercise following their defeat by Manchester City in the Champions League.

Qatar Sports Investments have spent heavily at the French club to win the Champions League. Under Laurent Blanc they have won four straight French titles but now have become the first team to lose in four straight Champions League quarter-finals.

“We are very disappointed with the result,” said a visibly drained PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi in a warning after the 1-0 defeat at Manchester on Tuesday which saw a 3-2 aggregate defeat.

“It's the fourth time we reach the quarter-finals and are eliminated. Now we have to take a step back and analyze what has happened.”

Ibrahimovic, 34, is out of contract at the end of the season. The Swedish superstar, who has never won a Champions League, has already been linked to a move to the English Premier League.

Al-Khelaifi said last month he wants Ibrahimovic to stay. But a summer rebuilding exercise could prove a game changer, with plenty of its other footballers also approaching their mid-thirties.

Paris have the means and desire to sign a new superstar, with Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar apparently on their wish list. Several pundits have argued that al-Khelaifi will surely be tempted to add new faces while keeping the likes of Angel di Maria, Thiago Silva and Marco Verratti.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Laurent Blanc said earlier this month that the Ligue 1 champions were patiently awaiting a decision from Ibrahimovic himself concerning his future.

"Zlatan? We are still in reflection and discussion. Our wish is to talk with him to see what he wants exactly, we know what we want from him; after if we click we'll see," said Blanc.

However, Blanc too may be on his way out, in the firing line after abandoning his usual 4-3-3 formation to play with three central defenders for the first half against Manchester City.

It was a gamble that backfired and one that followed a disappointing performance in the first leg at the Parce des Princes.

“In the first half we played with a new system and what happened, happened,” said Ibrahimovic who saw City goalkeeper Joe Hart brilliantly save two of his free-kicks.

“If it had gone well, nobody would say anything, and now people will say we gave it away. The second half was better, when we reverted to our normal tactics, but we gave away two games.”

He refused to comment immediately after the match on his own future and rumours he could be heading for the Premier League, saying his focus was on future PSG games and the European Championships this summer.

“If it's going to be England? We'll see. There's been a lot of talk and I let people talk. When we know what is happening it will be made public,” he was quoted by the Expressen newspaper as saying.

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