At 32, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still waiting for his first Champions League trophy. After making it to the quarterfinals last season, there’s a chance that at this sort of ability (scoring 4 goals in 40 minutes), he finally finds himself in the best situation he’s ever had to win the one title that’ll remove any doubt about his greatness.
That’s the world – individuals are judged by the amount of titles and quality of trophies they win in team sports. Ibrahimovic has ended up being a league champion in every season but one for the last 10 years, but he’s been criticized as somewhat of a loser or simply as a player you can’t build around because he still hasn’t taken a team on his back to the Champions League final.
In Paris, he may have the right team and tools to end that bit of nonsense. He’s been the best striker in the world for quite sometime, but it always feels like he’s judged differently. Maybe it’s simply because he’s a lot more talented than others. Maybe it’s his personality that often eclipses anything he does on the field. There are also the dark moments, when his temper gets the best of him on the pitch.
Last season PSG didn’t lose to Barcelona, falling out of the competition on away goals. This season, Edinson Cavani was brought to play alongside him and maybe take the scoring burden away from Zlatan, who can now be free to do what he wants. He’s better than Cavani at being a set up man, and for many matches so far in the league, that’s been his main role, while PSG”s most creative player, Lucas Moura, has been left on the bench a bit too much for my taste.
As long as PSG continue with their 4-3-3, things will carry on that way. We’ve seen a bit of 4-4-2 from Blanc this season, but he likes having Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the pitch together, even though it hurts him in other parts of the field.
It’s not all up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic whether PSG go all the way or not, but all eyes and expectations are on him. Maybe this season is when everything, around him, comes together. He can’t play better than he has for the last four seasons since joining AC Milan from Barcelona. But if he doesn’t reach the final and settles for another league trophy, it’s quite easy to predict who is going to be the fall guy once again.