In the first of an exclusive two-part interview, Zlatan Ibrahimović talks to UEFA.com about "collecting trophies", feeling fresh and Manchester City's "fantastic individual players".
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Zlatan Ibrahimović says "collecting trophies" is "what the game is about". The Paris Saint-Germain talisman has more than enough domestic titles – he has already added another Ligue 1 crown to his CV this season – but the UEFA Champions League continues to elude him. Into the latter stages once more, he sat down with UEFA.com ahead of Paris's upcoming quarter-final against Manchester City.
UEFA.com: It is your eighth UEFA Champions League quarter-final – can you describe the mental approach you must have at this stage of the competition?
Zlatan Ibrahimović: I am coming into the quarter-finals very relaxed. The game is obviously pretty important for everybody – for me, for the club, for the city, for the country – but I am pretty relaxed and confident. I feel fresh – physically I feel good, very focused and confident.
UEFA.com: Paris have already wrapped up the Ligue 1 title. Could this hinder the team in the UEFA Champions League or is it a positive?
Ibrahimović: We can rotate the team more, depending on what the coach wants. [But] you play games and you really don't have anything to play for because you are already champions. So it's a mix.
I try to collect as many [titles] as possible. This is what the game is about – collecting trophies. At the end of your career when you look back you will count all the trophies that you won. I have a couple of them, so I am not complaining.
UEFA.com: What do you admire most about Manchester City?
Ibrahimović: They are a similar project to PSG with a few more years of experience. It's more or less the same story as when we played Chelsea [in the round of 16], but they have had their project for many, many more years. I'm positive about [our] project because it's like a domino effect – they do something and it opens doors for other clubs, for other players. Then all the best players don't choose only the best and biggest clubs.
They are a good team, a very good team. They have had a lot of success in the years since the project began and they have fantastic individual players.
UEFA.com: Is there anyone who particularly stands out for you in that Manchester City team?
Ibrahimović: I played with Yaya Touré [at Barcelona]. I like him, I like him a lot. And then you have [David] Silva, [Sergio] Agüero – the whole team is strong. You don't watch out for one [particular player], you need to watch out for the team.
Part two of UEFA.com's Zlatan Ibrahimović interview will be published prior to the quarter-final second leg, which takes place in Manchester on Tuesday 12 April.