Social media blows up at the best of times when Zlatan Ibrahimovic does something majestic. But, when he scores fours goals in a 0-9 win away from home to capture the league title, it reverberates around the world!
What can you say that hasn’t already about the big man? He is just from a completely different spectrum to anyone who has kicked a ball in France. I have used that many superlatives since day one when he first signed for the club in 2012 that even I’m struggling to think of something a little more less original. The pity is though that those articles may very well be coming to an end.
He looks as if he will be seeking pastures new in the summer. It is of no great surprise to be honest. Those who are closely tied with the club knew this day was coming. He feels he has come to the end of his cycle in Paris and seeks one last big move. And the club is in a position now where we can attract a name to replace him that is of equal measure.
The frustrating thing is that he is playing his best football in a Parisian shirt. His inaugural campaign was unlike anything I have ever seen from a Paris Saint-Germain player. The brace he scored on his debut at home to Lorient in a 2-2 draw set the tone for an incredible 10-months where we ended a 19-year wait for a league title. This season though, he is bettering that and no doubt will beat his record goal tally of 41-goals before the end of the season (currently on 35).
Zlatan as always was questioned about his future after the game. He was very clear and jovial at the same time by implying if the Eiffel Tower is replaced with a statue of him, he ‘promises’ to stay. Typical Ibra, it’s why we love him. He told reporters; “I always had a good relationship with the fans, with the club, they always took care of me. I have always had good relationship with everyone. This is not in question. But, for now, I will not be at PSG next season. I have one and a half months left on my contract here. I will enjoy while I’m still here. What will happen next year I do not know but for now I will not be here.”
“I do not think they can change the Eiffel Tower for my statue, so…even the leaders of the club cannot, I think. But if they can, I’ll stay here, I promise.”
President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his teammates expressed their desire for him to stay but it looks more in vain than anything. The writing is one the wall it seems, the club is resigned to it.
But, the club itself knows that PSG is what it is today as a brand because of Ibra’s star power. It is a club now that can lure the so-called superstars of the sport; this wasn’t the case before he arrived. He has played as big a part as anyone in what Paris Saint-Germain has become. This is a club that is growing by the day worldwide.
Can we replace a Zlatan? Not a chance. He is a maverick, a genius, a one off. His place in PSG’s history is set in stone forever. And when the day does eventually come when he does play his trade elsewhere, it will be a sombre feeling. Speaking from a personal point of view, it has been an absolute privilege to witness what he has done for this club. He has had me in awe at something out of the ordinary he has done during a match and been been left exasperated on countless occasions during the games he has won – basically – singlehandedly at times.
Even though he is approaching 35 years of age, there is still nobody that comes close to him in my opinion. The club – and I totally understand this – need to plan for the next five years or so without him. Both parties can agree that they achieved everything they planned when he first held aloft that blue shirt in front of the Eiffel Tower in the summer of 2012. It is complete! But, as a fan, when he is playing the way he is and is still as important to the team as he’s ever been, I want him to stay for just one more season. Just one! Then Major League Soccer in the U.S can revel in his greatness (where he wants to end his career, so we are led to believe).
Nasser, sign him up! Keep the adventure alive.