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Feb 19, 2014

Ibrahmovic lauded for Bayer destruction

"A Zlatan lesson," read German broadsheet Sueddeutsche after Paris Saint-Germain thumped Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday night with Zlatan Ibrahmovic netting a brace.

Uersfeld: Leverkusen left in crisis
Johnson: Ibrahimovic double inspires PSG

Sueddeutsche's praise for the Sweden international was echoed in much of the German media coverage, with one journalist even asking the striker for his autograph in the mixed zone after the match.

The newspaper also focused on the financial disparities between PSG and Leverkusen. "Starting from Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- market value: 40, 50, 60 million euros -- the ball got to Marco Verratti -- market value: 20 million euros -- a ball into Blaise Matuidi -- market value: 20 million euros -- Bernd Leno in goal had no chance."

Football magazine kicker headlined: "0:4! Ibrahimovic and PSG show Bayer up." Kicker remarked it was the "Ibrahimovic show" and "after the 1-7 in Barcelona and the 0-5 to Manchester United" another team “ran rings around Leverkusen."

Die Welt, another broadsheet, said that "it appears Leverkusen are just not made for important moments" and called the side's performance "embarrassing."

The Rhine-Area daily Rheinische Post commented that Ibrahimovic only needed to "flex his muscles" to leave Leverkusen without a chance.

"When Bayer Leverkusen take on PSG in the reverse fixture in three weeks, the travelling fans can fully focus on the conveniences and the sights of the French capital," read the copy, and predicted "difficult days for Leverkusen" after having to admit that the "big guns in Europe are several numbers too big."

"Mon Dieu! Zlatan dismantles Bayer bunnies!" was the headline in the Rhine Area tabloid Express. "An unworthy performance for a team that is ranked second in Bundesliga," Express said, while their tabloid colleagues from Bild noted that the only problem for Leverkusen's players at half-time was to decide "who gets Zlatan Ibrahimovic's jersey," a running joke in Germany ever since Leverkusen players swapped shirts with Barcelona players during the 7-1 crushing two years ago.

Ibrahimovic took his tally to a competition-leading 10 goals with a penalty and a typically spectacular second just before the interval, but was eager to credit his teammates' contribution after the match.

"We produced a very good first half, and we continued to play well after the break," he told reporters. "I felt really good. When the team plays like that, it's easy to be up to the task. We're on track to progress, we have to confirm that in the second leg."

When asked about thrashing home his second  goal with his supposedly weaker left foot, Ibrahimovic replied: "There is no weak foot!"

PSG midfielder Yohan Cabaye was positive about his adaptation to life back in France and equally optimistic about his new club's Champions League chances.

Cabaye, 28, came off the bench midway through the second half to make his debut in European club football's premier competition, and he then scored to cap the convincing win.

Though he has made just one start since his January move from Newcastle United, the France international feels the PSG's imperious display vindicated his decision to swap North-East England for the French capital.

"The match finished well for me personally but also for the team. I think the team played a really great game," he said. "We can look to the future in this competition a little more calmly.

Playing for the title in France, playing in the Champions League and being able to challenge to win it, that counted in my choice. It continues, I'm settling in more and more. I hope it's going to continue like that for the team and I'm going to increasingly find my place."

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