Paris Saint-Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic said on Tuesday that he will not be motivated by revenge on his return to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Champions League.
The Sweden striker was sent off for a foul on Oscar in the first half of PSG’s 2-2 draw at Chelsea last season, which took Laurent Blanc’s side into the competition’s last eight, and later branded his opponents “babies” for appealing for his dismissal.
He returns on Wednesday with PSG leading 2-1 from the first leg of their last 16 tie, but says that he has no interest in settling scores.
“I never think about revenge and these things,” he said. “Every game is a new game, but hopefully I’ll stay on the pitch longer this time.
“From the last game here, I never saw something like that before from mature players. I didn’t expect that. But it’s a new game, let’s play different.”
Despite a glittering career, Ibrahimovic, 34, has never won the Champions League, but while he dismissed suggestions that his career is winding down, he said that lifting the trophy was no longer an obsession.
“I’m only warming up. I don’t believe it’s the end of my career,” said Ibrahimovic, who is Ligue 1’s leading scorer with 23 goals.
“I think age is just a number and the difference is how you feel. I feel very young. The season I’ve done so far, I never had better statistics than this.
“When I was young and talking about the Champions League, yes, it was almost an obsession, but then I started to mature, started to get to know myself.
“And I said to myself, ‘If I win it or not, it won’t change the player I am.’ But if I can win it, of course I’ll be happy.”
– ‘The future looks good’ –
Ibrahimovic believes that it is only a matter of time until PSG win Europe’s biggest prize, although he risked the wrath of long-term fans by declaring that the club’s history had begun with Qatar Sports Investments’ 2011 takeover.
“The club I’m playing in now is a project that began three and a half years ago,” he said.
“With all the respect, what happened before that, I think the club was born the day that the Qataris took over. It’s a totally new club.
“With time, with what the Qataris are investing, there are no limits. Trust me, they will hunt this Champions League until they get it. And they will not stop. With me or without me.”
Ibrahimovic’s contract expires at the end of the season, but he said that he had not started to think about his future.
“My future is I have another two months with PSG, then I have the Euro to play with my national team,” he said.
“Whatever happens after that, like it is today, there is nothing after that. I’m not in discussion with nobody because for me it’s not the moment to talk about that.
“I’m not worried about the future. The future looks good after the season I’m doing.”