Zlatan Ibrahimovic is known as a goal scorer, rightfully so, considering he has amassed 271 goals for club and country over his illustrious 17-year career. His most recent goal was an acrobatic volley against France in this summer’s European Championship that was named goal of the tournament.
He also is known as a winner. From 2001 to 2011, he won nine league titles with five different clubs, including an unprecedented eight consecutive from 2003 to 2011.
He also won a total of 18 trophies in this span.
Now he will wear new colors, the blue and red of Paris Saint-Germain, after a transfer saw him and teammate Thiago Silva move from AC Milan for nearly $80 million.
While Silva is on Olympic duty with Brazil, Ibrahimovic could make his debut Saturday against D.C. United, and PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti hopes he will be ready to play.
“We have to check his physical condition,” Ancelotti said on a conference call this week. “If there are no problems, maybe he can play 40 or 45 minutes.”
Ancelotti praised the signing of Ibrahimovic and hopes for continued success.
“Of course Ibra is a fantastic player because he has a lot of experience and personality,” said Ancelotti. “We need a striker with discipline, and we signed him for this reason.”
With Ancelotti at the reins and the Qatar Investment Authority’s seemingly endless money backing the club, PSG has brought in some of the world’s best talent recently.
Having spent more than $250 million on new players since taking over last season, the Qatar Investment Authority wants to ensure the club is talented enough to win not only Ligue 1, France’s top division, but also be competitive in the European Champions League.
“They made a lot of investment. We have signed fantastic players,” said Ancelotti. “We think we have a confident team for this season.”
After acquiring the likes of Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marco Veratti, PSG is considered a powerhouse among European clubs. Ancelotti will look to his star players to step up for the club.
“We have Lavezzi who is a fantastic striker and had a fantastic season last year, as well as Marco Veratti, who is a young Italian talent,” said Ancelotti. “Pastore … will be one of the most important players at PSG. We have to consider also that we have the experience of last year where the team was second place.”
PSG will not be taking Saturday’s match lightly, nor should it. United are 10-5-6 in midseason international friendlies dating to 1996., including a 3-2 victory over eventual Serie A champions AC Milan during United’s worst-ever season in 2010.
“I think United is a good test,” said Ancelotti. “[It] is a very good test because [D.C.] was in the first place of [MLS], so it will be, for us, a very important test.”
Ancelotti said playing against MLS helps to improve the PSG brand and make it worldwide. He also praises the growth of soccer in America and is honored to be a part of it.
“The American league’s quality of player is improving quickly. A lot of players form Europe are coming here, so the quality of play here is good,” said Ancelotti. “Playing in the United States is a fantastic significance.”