Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored plenty of goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season and is not done yet. Benoit Tessier / Reuters
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored plenty of goals for Paris Saint-Germain last season and is not done yet. Benoit Tessier / Reuters

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is ready to keep making history



PARIS // It was business as usual for Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he scored both goals against Guingamp to win France’s season-opening Champions Trophy for Paris Saint-Germain in Beijing last weekend.

One long-range thunderbolt and then a penalty had the Ligue 1 title-holders on the way to a 2-0 victory inside just 20 minutes, and gave the rest of France a glimpse of what could be to come in the season ahead.

In a poll in the popular sports daily L’Equipe this week, 81 percent of those asked believed PSG would win a third successive championship and 65 percent said that the Swedish striker would be the top scorer for the third year running.

Other world-class talents, such as Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, have come, and in the latter’s case, gone from France in the last two years, but none can rival Zlatan’s personality on or off the field.

His presence may spell trouble to PSG’s rivals, but his importance to the overall image of a French game which struggles to generate the same level of interest as its English, Spanish or German counterparts cannot be underestimated.

With a total of 1.84 million, Ibrahimovic has more Twitter followers than any French club, PSG included, and PSG’s Twitter homepage is emblazoned with a picture of the Swede celebrating a goal.

Speaking of goals, he has already rewritten records since arriving in France from AC Milan in 2012 and he is on course to keep on doing so in the campaign ahead.

In 2012-13, he became the first player to score 30 goals in a French top-flight season since Jean-Pierre Papin for Marseille in 1990 and he followed that with 26 goals in the last campaign, 10 more than any other player.

Despite missing much of the latter stages of last season due to injury, he still mustered a total of 40 goals in all competitions, beating the previous individual club best of 39 set by Carlos Bianchi in 1978.

As a result, he already lies sixth in the capital club’s list of all-time leading scorers, with 78. And if he keeps scoring at his present rate, he could overtake Pedro Pauleta’s record tally of 109 this season.

“When I came to Paris, I said that I wanted to make history,” said Ibrahimovic after beating Guingamp last weekend.

“I am starting my third season here and we have already won five trophies.

“I still have a strong desire to win every match. We have written our names down in history and we continue to do so.”

He has already won nine league titles in spells in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France, but the main goal for ‘Ibra’ now must be to win the Champions League, a competition in which he has often failed to deliver in the biggest matches.

He will turn 33 in October, so there will not be many more chances for a player whose contract at the Parc des Princes runs through to 2016.

But he comes into this season seemingly more settled and fresh than ever before.

Sweden’s failure to qualify meant Zlatan did not take part at the World Cup, although he was still one of the last PSG players to report back for pre-season training.

But having declared that “a World Cup without me is nothing to watch”, he did make it to Brazil and was spotted alongside PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in the crowd as Spain lost to Chile and Uruguay beat England, with his colleague Cavani playing a starring role.

In Paris, coach Laurent Blanc has yet to work out a way of getting the best out of Cavani and Ibrahimovic together in the same side, but the latter’s objectives are clear.

“Do better than last season. We had a fantastic season winning three trophies,” he said.

“We are focused on keeping this project growing and moving forward. There is pressure on us but the players who are here are used to that. To say that we are a great team is not enough. We have to prove it on the field.”

Follow our sports coverage on twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Most match wins on clay

Guillermo Vilas - 659

Manuel Orantes - 501

Thomas Muster - 422

Rafael Nadal - 399 *

Jose Higueras - 378

Eddie Dibbs - 370

Ilie Nastase - 338

Carlos Moya - 337

Ivan Lendl - 329

Andres Gomez - 322

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Floward
Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Founders: Abdulaziz Al Loughani and Mohamed Al Arifi
Sector: E-commerce
Total funding: About $200 million
Investors: Aljazira Capital, Rainwater Partners, STV and Impact46
Number of employees: 1,200

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

The bio

Favourite book: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Favourite travel destination: Maldives and south of France

Favourite pastime: Family and friends, meditation, discovering new cuisines

Favourite Movie: Joker (2019). I didn’t like it while I was watching it but then afterwards I loved it. I loved the psychology behind it.

Favourite Author: My father for sure

Favourite Artist: Damien Hurst

The Bio

Favourite place in UAE: Al Rams pearling village

What one book should everyone read: Any book written before electricity was invented. When a writer willingly worked under candlelight, you know he/she had a real passion for their craft

Your favourite type of pearl: All of them. No pearl looks the same and each carries its own unique characteristics, like humans

Best time to swim in the sea: When there is enough light to see beneath the surface

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Tips for holiday homeowners

There are several factors for landlords to consider when preparing to establish a holiday home:

  • Revenue potential of the unit: location, view and size
  • Design: furnished or unfurnished. Is the design up to standard, while being catchy at the same time?
  • Business model: will it be managed by a professional operator or directly by the owner, how often does the owner wants to use it for personal reasons?
  • Quality of the operator: guest reviews, customer experience management, application of technology, average utilisation, scope of services rendered

Source: Adam Nowak, managing director of Ultimate Stay Vacation Homes Rental

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Super 30

Produced: Sajid Nadiadwala and Phantom Productions
Directed: Vikas Bahl
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Pankaj Tripathi, Aditya Srivastav, Mrinal Thakur
Rating: 3.5 /5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The specs

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with 48V mild hybrid system
Power: 544hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 750Nm at 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Price: from Dh700,000 (estimate)
On sale: late November

The specs

Engine: 3.0-litre six-cylinder MHEV

Power: 360bhp

Torque: 500Nm

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Price: from Dh282,870

On sale: now

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos