Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Ligue 1 is less interesting since his exit – despite the arrivals of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar.
The Swedish forward was one of French football’s biggest names during his four-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain,scoring 156 goals in 180 games and winning 12 trophies – including four consecutive Ligue 1 titles. He left PSG to join Manchester United in July 2016.
Since Ibrahimovic moved to the Premier League, Mbappe, Messi and Neymar have all arrived at the Parc des Princes. The forwards have formed one of the most exciting strike forces in European football, scoring 43 goals between them in all competitions this term.
Despite this, Ibrahimovic thinks Ligue 1 is missing his unavoidable presence. “Since I left France, everything is going down,” he told Canal+. “You have nothing to talk about anymore.
“France needs me. I don’t need France. Even if you have Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, it doesn’t help you. Why? Because you don’t have God.”
There’s no denying Ibrahimovic is one of the most entertaining footballers of his generation. The 121-cap international, 41, has scored more than 500 goals at club level and won league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. He’s also won trophies in England.
Despite his age, Ibrahimovic continues to play at a high level with AC Milan. He was part of the squad that won the Serie A title last season – scoring eight goals in 23 league games – although he is currently recovering from a serious knee injury.
It’s fair to say Ligue 1 is missing Ibrahimovic’s personality, although PSG aren’t suffering on the pitch. They’ve eased into the last 16 of this season’s Champions League and are five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after winning 11 of their first 13 fixtures.
Milan are also suffering without Ibrahimovic. Stefano Pioli’s side are third in Serie A – six points behind unbeaten leaders Napoli. The defending champions suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to Torino in Turin on Sunday evening – their second league defeat of the season.
Ibrahimovic suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury earlier this year but continued to play until the end of the season to help Milan win their first Serie A title in 11 years. He underwent surgery in May and is expected to be out until the start of 2023.
The legendary striker has promised to make a comeback and is determined to retire on his own terms, not when critics expect him to. “You will surely see it,” Ibrahimovic told Gazzetta dello Sport in September. “When I come back, I will be heard, you can count on it.
“I will do it with violence. I’m not going to retire, I’m coming back and I won’t give up… If I see a player stronger than me, I’ll stop. But I haven’t seen him yet.”