With an ego double the size of his imposing physique, Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he could use his image to boost the dismal ratings of French President Francois Hollande - but then he might not choose to do so.
Not known for his modesty, Sweden’s larger-than-life soccer captain announced his departure from French club Paris Saint-Germain last month with the words: “I came like a king, left like a legend.”
“I can make him popular if I want, but I am not sure I want to,” he was quoted as saying of Hollande in an interview published by Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday.
Ibrahimovic made his comment on the eve of the opening of the Euro 2016 championships in France when he will turn out for Sweden. Since the striker has now left PSG and may be joining another team outside France it was not clear how he thought it was within his power to help Hollande.
Asked if Hollande, France’s most unpopular leader since the beginning of the Fifth Republic in 1958, should target a second term next year, Ibrahimovic said: “To be honest, I don’t know if he’s done a good job. But that’s for you, the French, to say.”
The 34-year-old Swede joined PSG in 2012, the same year Hollande arrived in the Elysee presidential palace, and added four Ligue 1 titles to an already loaded trophy cabinet.
Hollande, meanwhile, has had a rougher ride. With his approval ratings barely into double digits, he is battling nationwide strikes against labour law reforms, stubbornly high unemployment and deep rifts within the ruling Socialist Party.
Asked for his parting thoughts on France, Ibrahimovic said: “Ibra came and he seized power in France.”