How will Chelsea tackle Ibrahimovic? Swede says there is one other who should cause concern and he is as impressive in the pass as Manchester United target.
Paris Saint Germain is a club clad with quality players yet, while headline-writers and copy-editors obsess over players such as Edinson Cavani and whether he'll breach Chelsea's continually stringent defence when the two behemoths of European football collide at the Parc des Princes later this evening, Wednesday, in the quarter-final of the Champions League, there is seemingly one superstar-in-the-making who has crept under the radar.
The wonderkid, recommended by his team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has already returned considerable cumulative statistics from Champions League competition thus far this season, averaging an astonishing 97.5 passes per game, with a 94% passing accuracy! He has one assist, has created one clear-cut chance and puts in a good defensive shift also with 20 tackles, eight interceptions and three clearances.
That prospect, a 21-year-old from Pescara in Italy, has flourished since agreeing terms with PSG in 2012. A cultured passer of the football, this player is also a technically-exquisite dribbler, is strong in the challenge and attracts fouls.
He is Marco Verratti.
Commented Ibrahimovic of the young talent to Gazzetta dello Sport: "There are players who just need to step on the field and play the way they usually do [against Chelsea]. The example is Marco Verratti, who might not have all that much experience, but he doesn’t need it because he is a world class player."
Verratti's most statistically impressive passing performances thus far in Europe this season have arrived against Bayer Leverkusen (4-0 to PSG) where he completed 99 of his 104 pass attempts, versus Benfica (3-0 win for PSG) where he completed 105 of his 109 attempts and against Anderlecht (5-0 to PSG) where Verratti hit Xavi and Toni Kroos figures by finding a team-mate 132 times from his 140 passes.
He is valued at £17.5m by transfermarkt.co.uk.