Zlatan Ibrahimović tells UEFA.com about his special plan for Malmö v Paris, proving his critics wrong and whether he can finally win a UEFA Champions League title.
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In the second part of our interview with Zlatan Ibrahimović ahead of his return to Malmö with Paris Saint-Germain, the Sweden forward discusses booking out the city square to show the match on a big screen to ticket-less fans, proving his critics wrong and whether he can finally win a UEFA Champions League title.
UEFA.com: You have booked out the city's main square to show Wednesday's game. What was your thinking behind that gesture?
Zlatan Ibrahimović: I did that right after the draw when I found out that we would be playing MFF. MFF have a small stadium, not in Swedish terms but in international standards where I'm used to playing, and if MFF's stadium had been five times bigger, we'd still have been able to fill it.
We want to fit all of Malmo in, but everyone can't get in, and I want to give everyone a chance to watch the game. It'll be a large screen in the square where everyone will have a chance to see the match live. We also have a few surprises in store. It'll be a special moment. There will be special offers.
UEFA.com: Are you involved in all the planning?
Ibrahimović: Yes, I'm involved in all of it. It should feel personal, like something I've planned. I don't want it to feel like someone is using my name to lure people there. It's a gift from me. I've booked the square, I've done all the planning.
Everything that will happen during the course of the day – and let me tell you, a lot of things will happen – it's all planned by me. I've been helped by city planners and so forth, but this is personally arranged by me. That's why it's special.
UEFA.com: Fourteen years have passed since you left Malmö. How is your relationship with the club and the fans now?
Ibrahimović: It's great. I have a special relationship with the club, because we stay in touch. We talk about the future, the present, about everything, really. They ask for tips and help sometimes, and I try to share my experience to try and help them in the best way possible. It's the club where I got started, and you want them to grow to be the best, which they are in Scandinavia.
I will do anything I can for that club and for the fans. They always make me feel welcome. We haven't had many chances to get the national team together in Malmo because we are based in Stockholm, but those times I've been in Malmo with the national team have been great.
UEFA.com: You know the film Blådårar, of course. It contains a scene with you sitting on a train declaring that you will become a pro. Do you remember that, and can you tell us how you felt?
Ibrahimović: I remember being younger and having ambitions, dreams, visions. More visions than dreams, I'd say. I knew what I wanted at a young age. As I told you [in the first part of the interview], I had a choice to make. Either I would take it seriously, or just waste my time. I decided to take it seriously. I saw the chance I had and I ran with it.
Everything that's happened so far, I knew would happen because I envisioned it.
Many people said I was too cocky; that I was a diva. The answers came, even if they took 14 years to get here, but the fact I'm the one sitting here proves I was right. You should have listened. And you should be happy to experience it, because I don't know if it'll happen again.
UEFA.com: Paris are currently second in Group A. Personally, how do you feel you have performed so far in this campaign?
Ibrahimović: That's a good question. I've played well. I was injured right before I played the first game against Malmö. That was my first game after the injury, but it worked out well. We won 2-0, and after that we faced Shakhtar Donetsk and that worked out well too – we won 3-0.
The best game we played was against Madrid, especially for me personally.
I haven't scored in the Champions League yet, but I have the Malmö game to go. It'll come. I'm not worried about it.
UEFA.com: At the time of speaking you have played 116 times in the UEFA Champions League. How special is this competition to you?
Ibrahimović: It's where the best players play, but it's not always the best who win. You only understand the Champions League after you have played a Champions League game yourself. The anthem, the melody, the atmosphere and all of that. You're facing the best players in Europe. The ball. Everything around you. It’s a very special feeling.
UEFA.com: Do you believe this current team at Paris are capable of winning the UEFA Champions League?
Ibrahimović: We have got better. We are a lot better than last year, so we have a good chance. It doesn't mean that we will win, but we have a great team that has improved a lot from last year. We have the potential to go a long way, but it takes a lot to win. It’s not always the best team that wins, so we’ll see.
UEFA.com: How much does your quest to win the UEFA Champions League drive you?
Ibrahimović: You want to win. I haven't won the Champions League before, as everyone knows, but we are going to do everything we can to win. If I don't win, I won't be disappointed. Definitely not. What will happen will happen.
UEFA.com: You have recently become Paris's all-time leading goalscorer – where does this rank among your achievements?
Ibrahimović: Records are always fun to beat. I haven't been at the club for that long. I guess that's a record too.
I have never been at a club for four consecutive seasons. You can say I beat the record after three seasons here. It feels great. Fun.
You have to set the bar as high as possible, and if you end up in the history books, even better. Naturally, you would want to be remembered for great accomplishments on the field. This is a record I have, like a lot of others, but someday someone else will beat them too. All that matters is that I beat them once, and they were great moments in my life.