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Neymar absence a blessing in disguise


Ibrahimovic plays down goal record talk

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes "records are there to be broken" after heading into the winter break looking likely to threaten the best-ever tally for goals in a Ligue 1 season.

• Blog: PSG keep a-Brest of matters

The Paris Saint-Germain forward, 31, contributed 18 strikes to his team's rise to the top of the table at Christmas, the best total at this stage of any Ligue 1 season since Nantes' Vahid Halilhodzic matched that at the midway point of the 1984-85 campaign.

While the current Algerian national team coach went on to claim 28 goals that season, Ibrahimovic looks likely to put Carlos Bianchi's PSG record of 37 league goals from 1977-78 and even the all-time record, set by Marseille's Josip Skoblar with 44 in 1970-71, in jeopardy.

"Records are there to be broken. If I do it, others will overtake me later on," Ibrahimovic, who has found the net 46 times in his last 48 club outings with PSG and AC Milan, told PSG's official website. "My job is to score. I've started the season well, but I'm not setting myself any targets. My aim is to always improve on what I did the previous season.

"In Serie A, I scored 28 goals last year with AC Milan. Consequently, I have to score at least 29 this season to be happy with my performance."

Ibrahimovic's lofty individual ambitions are on the same scale as that of his club, who have serious designs on picking up a first Ligue 1 crown since 1993-94. With a squad assembled at a cost of some €250 million and a budget in excess of €300 million which dwarfs that of even their most serious rivals, many expected the title race to have a sole runner, but only goal difference means PSG head Lyon and Marseille at the end of the year.

However, after OL coach Remi Garde said the gap between his side and PSG "doesn't depend on us but on PSG" on Saturday, OM boss Elie Baup also acknowledged that the Parisiens remain favourites.

"Our initial objective is to finish in the top five," said Baup, 57, who saw his team beat Saint-Etienne on Sunday to keep the top trio locked together on 38 points, six points clear of the chasing pack. "That's far from certain, and we'll do our utmost to do even better. The club is ambitious, but the difference between winning and losing is tiny. When you see PSG's squad, it would be a huge failure for them if they're not champions."


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