Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes David Beckham’s experience of winning silverware will make him a major asset as Paris Saint-Germain compete for trophies on three fronts.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men face Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday and are also in the last eight of the Coupe de France. A healthy seven-point lead atop Ligue 1 means a first French title since 1994 looks odds-on, but with nothing yet decided, Ibrahimovic, 31, feels the 37-year-old Beckham is just the man the PSG dressing-room requires.
“He’s a fighter, a winner, and especially now when there’s two months left and we can win everything but one cup that we’ve missed out on here in France,” he said. “That’s where he’s important as he has this experience, he’s been in this position before, and with respect to my team-mates, that’s not the case of everyone in the team.”
It is, however, true of the Swedish international, a championship winner in all five teams he played for outside of his native country prior to moving to the French capital last summer. Despite having worn the colours of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, a Champions League winner’s medal has eluded him, but Ibrahimovic does feel the competition has been beneficial to his career.
“I think I’ve developed a lot, each year,” the Swede, who made his competition debut as a youngster at Ajax in 2001. “When I began playing in the Champions League, everything was new. I went into these fantastic stadiums, we played against Arsenal, Lyon, I saw big stars in other teams, we were the up-and-coming guys.
“We wanted to prove ourselves. Now I’m on the other side. I’ve been playing in it a long time, not winning it for the moment though. I think I enjoy football more now. I know what I can get out of myself on the pitch. I see football differently now from ten years ago. I’m getting as complete as I wished to be when I started football. Hopefully when I quit I can look back and say that I had some good times.”