Before bowing out, Ibrahimovic seals French title win, sets PSG record
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a record for league goals in a single season by a Paris Saint-Germain player, saying farewell on Saturday with a brace in a 4-0 win over Nantes in the French league.football Updated: May 15, 2016 12:35 IST
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a record for league goals in a single season by a Paris Saint-Germain player, saying farewell on Saturday with a brace in a 4-0 win over Nantes in the French league.
Playing his last game at PSG’s home ground in the final round, Ibrahimovic moved to 38 league goals, ahead of Carlos Bianchi, who managed 37 in 1977-78. Josip Skoblar holds the all-time record of 44 league goals in 1970-71 for Marseille.
Sweden striker Ibrahimovic, who announced earlier this week that he would be leaving the French champions at the end of the season, entered the pitch alone and received a guard of honour from his teammates.
The match was stopped briefly in the 10th minute as fans gave Ibrahimovic — whose PSG shirt is No 10 — a standing ovation.
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring eight minutes later after using his chest to connect with a cross from Angel Di Maria at the far post and sealed PSG’s win with a header in the 90th minute.
After scoring his double, Ibrahimovic was joined on the pitch by his two children, who wore PSG jerseys with the words “king” and “legend”. The shirts echoed Ibrahimovic’s statement that he arrived at PSG “like a king” and “left like a legend”.
Lucas Moura and Marquinhos were also on the score sheet for PSG.
“You’re a PSG legend, you’re PSG’s best scorer. We will never forget what you did for the club,” PSG president Nasser al Khelaifi said after the game during the title celebrations.
Ibrahimovic, who has yet to announce his plans for the future, has one more match to play with PSG — the French Cup final against bitter rival Marseille on May 21 at the Stade de France.
At 34, Ibrahimovic played one of the best seasons of his career. Although he failed again in his task of delivering the Champions League to the Qatari-owned club, he was named last week the French league’s best player for the third time in four seasons.
Playing tremendous football for most of the season, the imposing striker became PSG’s all-time leading scorer as the Parisian club won a fourth consecutive French league title and the League Cup.
“I’m filled with emotion, these four years will remain in my heart,” said Ibrahimovic, who joined PSG in the summer of 2012.
His impact was immediate and PSG clinched its first championship for 19 years in the 2012-13 season.
“Hopefully the team will continue to win a lot,” Ibrahimovic said, before adding, “Without Ibra, it’s difficult but it’s possible.”
PSG finished the season with a league points record of 96, 31 more than second-placed Lyon, which lost 4-1 to Reims on Saturday. PSG scored 102 goals in 38 league matches, conceding only 19 -- two below Marseille’s previous defensive record of conceding 21 goals in the 1991-92 season.
Third-placed Monaco qualified for the play off rounds of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Montpellier that ensured the Principality side kept its two-point lead over Nice intact.
Nice finished fourth and will play in the Europa League alongside Lille, which leapfrogged Saint-Etienne with a 1-0 win at Geoffroy Guichard stadium.
Toulouse salvaged its spot in the top flight with a dramatic 3-2 win at Angers while Ajaccio and Reims were demoted alongside last-placed Troyes.