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Five Aside

Tapie slams 'inconsistent' Ibrahimovic

Flamboyant former Marseille president Bernard Tapie has praised Paris Saint-Germain for signing David Beckham but delivered scathing criticism of an 'inconsistent' Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic has struck a Ligue 1 high of 21 goals in his maiden season in France, nine more than any other top-flight player, but even that has failed to convince Tapie, 69, and he told Le Parisien newspaper.

"He's not Messi. He has an enormous fault as far as I'm concerned: his inconsistency," Tapie, who was OM president at the time of their 1993 Champions League triumph, said. "It's simple. If you want the best goalscorer in the league, you take him no questions asked. If you also want your team to play with ten men 80% of the time because there's a bloke who just does what he wants, you take him too.

"In Ligue 1, Ibrahimovic can behave like that because all the matches are not permanent combats. PSG are so much better than everyone else they can rely on the talent of ten players. But in more hard-fought leagues like England, he couldn't behave in the same way. Why do you think teams like Real Madrid, Bayern, or the big English teams have never wanted him?"

Meanwhile, Beckham is set to make his PSG debut against Tapie's former club in Sunday evening's Ligue 1 encounter at the Parc des Princes and sceptics have been quick to brand the 37-year-old's arrival on a five-month deal a mere marketing gimmick.

However, Tapie believes the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder - who has not played a competitive game since December 1 - will bring much more to the Parc des Princes.

"It's a super idea. Before, PSG could be summed up as being 'money and Qatar'. Everyone knows that in France we don't like the money of others. So, people couldn't like that PSG," he said. "Now, with the arrival of Beckham, it shows the club isn't just a mountain of money but can also bring in great players.

"Beckham is still one of those. He'll be useful, because he's still got it. Consequently, PSG has a worldwide audience and all the stadiums will be full, because everyone will want to see him. Everyone's a winner. It's a great thing. Bravo!"


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