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 By Ian Holyman
Jul 30, 2014

Zlatan primed for PSG curtain raiser

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was left in optimistic mood after Paris Saint-Germain romped to victory in their first preseason friendly in Asia.

Ibrahimovic scores training golazo
- Johnson: Who makes way for Di Maria?

The French champions jetted into Hong Kong to face local outfit Kitchee ahead of the traditional Ligue 1 season curtain-raiser, the Trophee des Champions, against Coupe de France winners Guingamp -- which will be staged in Beijing on Aug. 2.

Ibrahimovic, 32, helped himself to a hat trick in a 6-2 win for PSG, who bounced back after initially going behind.

And though the Sweden international acknowledged the high temperatures and punishing preseason training schedule had taken their toll, he told PSG's official website it had been a rewarding workout.

"We played well. The situation is different now as we're in the middle of preseason," he said. "We have had some very tough training sessions. It was a good game, a good training session. It was just what we needed before the Trophee des Champions."

PSG have flown to Asia with Edinson Cavani, who could feature against Guingamp after training on Tuesday. Coach Laurent Blanc is, however, without Brazil international David Luiz, who moved to the Parc des Princes from Chelsea just before his country's ill-fated World Cup campaign.

Luiz, 27, came in for criticism for his role in the Selecao's pitiful semifinal exit at the hands of Germany, but former Chelsea defender Frank Leboeuf told RMC that while the Brazilian is far from perfect, he will still prove a wise investment.

"I acknowledge he has a huge amount of quality. But he alternates very good with awful," Leboeuf said. "He's not a born defender. If Mourinho put him in midfield at Chelsea, it's because he has doubts about his defensive tasks. The problem cried out at the World Cup. After three minutes against Germany, he was in the centre-forward position.

"That's what makes me afraid. You can't do any old thing, but Laurent will know what to do with him. He will understand very quickly that you cannot play the same in England as in Brazil or in France. But I have no doubt he'll succeed, because he has great quality. Defensively, we can count on him and his friend, Thiago Silva."

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