Modest Zlatan: “I put France on world soccer map”

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he “put France on the world map” when it comes to soccer.

Of course he does.

Ibrahimovic, 34, has spent the last four years playing for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, winning three-straight French titles as the Swedish international striker has banged home 115 goals in 140 appearances for PSG. So, putting up numbers like that has been pretty impressive.

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Now, we all know Ibrahimovic is far from the most modest man to ever walk the planet. That’s a fact. However, ahead of Sweden’s crucial EURO 2016 playoff against foes Denmark on Saturday in Stockholm, the man who has been at the forefront of making PSG and arguably Ligue 1 relevant again is pleased with what he has achieved in the host nation of next summer’s European Championships.

“I’m very happy about that. I would love to play at the European Championship in France,” Ibrahimovic said. “I have played there for four years. I have put Sweden on the world map and now I have put France on the world map too.”

Zlatan is out of contract at the end of the current season but so far this campaign the 34-year-old is on a tear with nine goals in eighth Ligue 1 appearances.

“I have better statistics than before,” Ibrahimovic added. “So if I’m old and getting weak and still doing what I do, imagine if I was good and young. What I would do then?”

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Classic Zlatan, it really is. But he has a point.

When the Qatari ownership group bought PSG in 2011, Zlatan was one of the first pieces of the jigsaw at the Parc des Princes and although the likes of Edinson Cavani, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Angel di Maria have since arrived, Zlatan is still PSG’s talisman and is a towering figure in French soccer. If he gets the chance to play in a final major tournament for Sweden before he retires, it will be a fitting ending to his team in France if he chooses to leave PSG when his contract expires next summer.

As he notes himself, he is rolling back the years and does seem to have at least another two or three seasons in him at the elite level. With clubs across Europe linked with Zlatan and rumors of a move to Major League Soccer always circling, the man who put France on the world map will be around for some time to come.

However, I’m pretty sure the 1998 World Cup winning team will have something to say about Zlatan’s latest comments…