Zlatan Ibrahimovic announces exit from Paris Saint-Germain
Swedish striker declares: "I came like a king, left like a legend."
The 34-year-old is out of contract in the summer
“I came like a king, left like a legend.”
It is the most Zlatan Ibrahimovic way possible of putting yourself on the transfer market.
The Swedish striker’s tweet, announcing that Saturday’s match against Nantes will be his last for Paris Saint-Germain, leaves people in no doubt as to his intentions, or his view on the legacy he leaves in France.
The 34-year-old has won four straight Ligue 1 titles with the French club and seven cup competitions, but success in the European Champions League has eluded him – PSG failing to make it past the quarterfinals in the last three seasons.
His departure was later confirmed on the club’s official website in a statement that also revealed he would return in a “managerial capacity” once his playing career had ended.
“I am very proud of the last four years,” he said. “I loved every day I spent here. Paris Saint-Germain has become a star club in the world and I played a key role moving it forward.
“It is now the right time for me to take a different path. I would like to thank my teammates, the technical staff and all the people in the club. My heart is with the fans. They were amazing from the first day I came here. They are the best fans in France.
“It is not a farewell but only an au revoir. I came like a king, I leave like a legend but I will be back.”
Ibrahimovic will not be short of suitors.
He has been linked with a move to the English Premier League with Manchester United, Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS and a return to Italian giants AC Milan, where he spent two seasons between 2010 and 2012.
A return of 46 goals in 49 matches for PSG this season still proves he can cut it at the top level, while his 36 league goals propelled it to a fourth consecutive crown.
The mercurial forward is always good for a soundbite, constantly referring to himself in the third person. When once asked by reporters what he’d be getting his girlfriend for her birthday he replied: “Nothing. She has Zlatan.”
After criticism from Norwegian striker John Carew, Ibrahimovic famously retorted: “What Carew can do with a football, I can do with an orange.”
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, President and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain, heaped praise on Ibrahimovic: “In just four years Zlatan has greatly contributed to the history and notoriety of Paris Saint-Germain as well as promoting French football worldwide.
“Ibra is truly a great man on and off the pitch. With his incredible talent and charisma, he has conquered the heart of the people of Paris and far beyond. All the trophies he won with the club, the records he broke and his amazing goals will stay forever in our memories.
“I am extremely proud of having welcomed Ibra in Paris and I’m now looking forward to the prospect of working with him again at the club when he finishes his career. He will always be home at Paris Saint-Germain.”