Zlatan Ibrahimovic may have only played under Jose Mourinho for a year at Inter Milan, but both have great respect for each other.
Mourinho has said in a recent interview that he didn’t find Zlatan a difficult person to work with, and in Zlatan’s book he said that he would have died for Mourinho.
None of this special admiration will stop the Swedish striker from wanting to destroy the English club on Wednesday night.
The English media have never been very kind to the former Barcelona and AC Milan forward, but the combination of Mourinho and Chelsea coming to the Parc des Princes this week will have Ibrahimovic firing on all cylinders.
Ligue 1 may not be at the same level as the English Premier League, but in Paris Saint-Germain it contains one of the best sides in Europe and the Parisians are determined to show the rest of Europe what they are capable of, that included beating the 2012 European Champions over two-legs.
Five years have passed since Mourinho and Zlatan were at the same club, and it is a vastly improved Ibrahimovic that the Portuguese manager will have to deal with on Wednesday night. This is Zlatan v2.0 – this is an all-round forward – a forward that any club in Europe should be wary of.
He still has the massive ego, he can still create moments of magic from absolutely nothing, but he has also evolved into a team player. He has grown up since his move to Paris. The city suits him, the team suits him and under coach, Laurent Blanc, the football suits him.
This season, with the signing of Uruguayan striker, Edinson Cavani, the play at PSG has developed into a much more fluid and deadly system, and it’s the play of Ibrahimovic that has taken it to the next level.
Now he drops deep, really deep, almost getting involved in the midfield battle. Central-defenders don’t know whether to track him or not, the opposition midfield are usually too busy trying to cope with the PSG midfield to do anything about him, and Zlatan gets to come and go as he pleases.
This season he is on course to break the Ligue 1 record of 30 goals in a season. He is currently on 25 goals, with seven games to go. Amazingly he also leads Ligue 1 in assists; he has 11 and looks like adding to both tallies.
He is unstoppable right now, and when you do find a way to keep him quiet, you then have to deal with one of the other quality options that Laurent Blanc has in his side.
Mourinho may have had a positive effect on Zlatan’s career while at Inter Milan, but now the Swede and bigger and better and he’s coming to destroy his former mentor.