Zlatan Ibrahimovic not looking for revenge in second leg against Chelsea
LONDON -- Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he will not be motivated by revenge when Paris Saint-Germain face Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.
PSG eliminated the Blues on away goals at the same stage of last season's competition after claiming a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, but Ibrahimovic suffered the ignominy of being sent off for a foul on Oscar in the 31st minute.
Chelsea players crowded Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers in the seconds leading up to Ibrahimovic's dismissal and the incensed Swede afterwards described them as "a lot of babies."
This time PSG bring a 2-1 lead to West London from last month's first leg at Parc des Princes, when Ibrahimovic's deflected free kick was cancelled out by a rare John Obi Mikel strike in the first half before substitute Edinson Cavani netted the winner after the interval.
Asked if he wanted the Chelsea players to behave like men at Stamford Bridge this time, Ibrahimovic said: "Let's see. The last game we played they were no indications of that [behaviour].
"Tomorrow is a new game. In that situation, from the last game here, I'd never seen anything like that before ... from mature players like that, I didn't expect it. But it's a new game now. Let's play it differently.
"Hopefully I will stay longer this time on the pitch, and no mistakes from a person who is not involved in the game.
"I never think about revenge. Every game is a new game. Hopefully I will stay on the pitch longer than the last time, to have the possibility to do things I'm good at. Play football. But revenge? Absolutely not. What happened in the past belongs in the past. This is the present. Let's do a good game."
The Champions League remains the one major trophy absent from Ibrahimovic's illustrious list of club honours as he approaches the final months of his PSG contract, but the Swede is adamant that winning the competition has not become an obsession for him -- though he insists it is only a matter of time before his club are crowned Kings of Europe.
"I'm only warming up," he added. "I don't believe it's [close to] the end of my career. Age is something you can't fear ... it's just a number, and the difference is how you feel. I feel young.
"When I was young and talking about the Champions League, yes, it was almost an obsession. But then I started to mature and get to know myself -- which is difficult to understand -- but I realised that if I win it doesn't make me a better player, or if I don't it won't make me a worse player. I am what I am.
"The club I'm playing in now is a project that began three and a half years ago. What happened before that, with all respect ... this club was born the day the Qataris took over.
"Look at Chelsea. They had the same thing 10 years ago and when did they win the Champions League? Four years ago. What we've done is amazing.
"With time they can achieve anything here. There are no limits. They will hunt this Champions League until they get it and they will not stop, with me or without me.
"I wanted to be part of this, to take on this challenge. I want to do things that will be written in history books, individual and collective. Please give it time and we will see."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.