Paris: Cristiano Ronaldo or Franck Ribery can have the Ballon d’Or, Zlatan Ibrahimovic does not need it.
The Swedish striker has been in superb form this year for Paris St Germain, scoring eight goals in this season’s Champions League — as many as Real Madrid’s Ronaldo — to help the French side ease into the last 16.
“I don’t need the Ballon d’Or to know I’m the best,” Ibrahimovic, who played a key role in PSG’s Ligue 1 title triumph last season, said on Wednesday. “It matters more to some players.”
Ibrahimovic scored his 39th Champions League goal on Wednesday as PSG won their group with a game to spare by beating Olympiakos 2-1 at the Parc des Princes.
No Swede has ever won the Ballon d’Or or the Fifa player of the year award but that statistic is unlikely to cause Ibrahimovic to lose any sleep. “It’s not something I think about and it is something that is not important for me,” he said.
In Germany, Wayne Rooney revealed that during their Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday, one of the Leverkusen players asked him just how Ryan Giggs is still playing at 40.
Giggs turns 40 on Friday but ran the midfield in United’s emphatic 5-0 win in Germany, which left at least one Leverkusen player dumbfounded by the Welshman.
Rooney said: “Giggs was fantastic. He’s done it for years and I’ve run out of things to say about him.
“During the game, actually, their centre-half was asking ‘how he is still playing at that age?’
“It’s great to see him with his composure on the ball is fantastic. I don’t know how he’s still doing it. I certainly won’t be playing at that age, that’s for sure!”
Zlatan, the former Barcelona and AC Milan striker, showed how much of an asset he can be all over the pitch on Wednesday, taking on his share of defensive duties when PSG were reduced to 10 men following Marco Verratti’s dismissal early in the second half.