Ibrahimovic seals PSG title, hints at exit

Swedish striker helps seal fourth straight title for French giants, casts doubt on his future.

Tuesday March 15 2016

Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic kicks the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match against Troyes on March 13, 2016 at the Aube Stadium. PSG clinched a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title in record time on March 13 after defeating Troyes. PHOTO | AFP

Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic kicks the ball during the French Ligue 1 football match against Troyes on March 13, 2016 at the Aube Stadium. PSG clinched a fourth consecutive Ligue 1 title in record time on March 13 after defeating Troyes. PHOTO | AFP  

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit four goals to help seal a fourth straight French title for Paris Saint-Germain and then cast doubt on his future at the club.

“For the moment I am not at PSG next year,” the 34-year-old Swedish striker said in comments that will set off alarm bells from the English Premier League to China’s big-paying clubs.

Ibrahimovic was top scorer in a 9-0 trouncing of Troyes on Sunday that sealed the French title in record time with eight games still to go.

But celebrations were tainted by Ibrahimovic’s statement after. “I still have a month and a half of competition left. What happens next year, for the moment, I don’t know about it,” he told BeIN Sports.

Ibrahimovic, who arrived in Paris in July 2012 from AC Milan and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, added: “If they replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of me, I will stay at PSG. “I can promise that!”

PSG’s Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insisted that he wants Ibrahimovic to stay at the club.

“Zlatan is magical,” said Al-Khelaifi. “He is a great player. We are going to talk to him and see what he wants to do. We want him to stay.”

On top of contract talks, Paris Saint-Germain are also still in the Champions League and progress in the tournament could also influence Ibrahimovic. Paris are still in contention for a four-trophy haul with the Champions League, French Cup and French League Cup still to be decided.

“The Champions League is our biggest dream,” said the PSG president.

Unlike last season when Paris waited until late March to take over top spot, the capital club have set the pace uninterrupted since beating Gazelec Ajaccio 2-0 in their second game of the campaign. “We’ve worked well. Everyone is to be congratulated, first of all the players, the coaching staff, the medical team,” said coach Laurent Blanc.

“But the season isn’t finished and we’re going to have to get ourselves back in competition mode because there are some important dates coming up in April and hopefully May.”

Three goals in six early first-half minutes by Uruguayan Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore and Adrien Rabiot set PSG on the road to victory at Troyes who seem certain to be relegated.

TOOK CENTRE STAGE

Ibrahimovic took centre stage in 10 magical second half minutes.

The towering Swede made it 4-0 just seconds into the second-half after Cavani intercepted a clearance. Ibrahamivoc drilled the ball low into the left-hand corner.

Ibrahimovic’s second goal, a mid-air volley from an inch-perfect Angel di Maria cross, was his 100th in Ligue 1 action.

For his third the Swede met a Layvin Kurzawa cross at full speed and unleashed a blinding right-footed shot that swerved into the far corner of the net.

Matthieu Saunier compounded Troyes’ woes with an own goal, while Lossemy Karaboue saw red for hauling Cavani down in the box with 16 minutes to play.

Goalkeeper Matthieu Dreyer did well to save Cavani’s penalty, but the striker tapped in at the second bite.

Ibrahimovic wrapped up the rout, riding through a tackle to unleash an unstoppable shot from a Pastore through-ball, to bring his total to 102 goals scored in 115 Ligue 1 matches.

“I’m very lucky to play with good players,” Ibrahimovic said, walking off with the ball wedged under his arm. “The referee gave it to me!”
The Ligue 1 title was the fourth time Blanc has won it as a manager having also guided Bordeaux to the 2008-09 title.

The gulf in class between Paris and the rest has never been more apparent since Qatar Sports Investments purchased PSG in 2011.

With a budget of close to 500 million euros ($558 million), PSG’s financial supremacy has enabled them to spring well clear of the rest of the competition.

PSG have set records tumbling this term and surpassed Nantes’ 32-game unbeaten run set during the 1994-95 campaign. They were finally beaten 2-1 at Lyon last month to end their sequence at 36 matches.

They play in the League Cup final on April 23, four days after facing Lorient for a place in the French Cup final.

The draw for the Champions League is this week. PSG, having beaten Chelsea for the second season running will be hoping to avoid a second straight meeting with Barcelona in the final eight.

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