Blanc hits back at Mourinho claim, Ibra rules out England move
Paris St Germain boss Laurent Blanc has hit back at Jose Mourinho’s taunt that Ligue 1 is a cakewalk for the Parisiens by pointing at the Portuguese’s history with Real Madrid.
Mourinho, who won one Primera Division title in three seasons in Spain in a Barcelona-led duopoly, had suggested winning Ligue 1 is easy, stoking the fires ahead of his Chelsea side’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
"Maybe if we’re talking about the league and I’m sure that Jose Mourinho knows the French league very well," Blanc said.
"There are two really big clubs in Ligue 1 (PSG and Monaco), but if I remember correctly, I think it was the same for him in Spain, with Barcelona and Madrid.
"The only answer we want to give is to show a great performance tomorrow and we’d like to show that Ligue 1 has some very good teams and some very good players."
Big-spending PSG have not hidden their admiration for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard and Oscar in the build up to the contest, while David Luiz has also been linked with a move across The Channel.
Hazard moved to Chelsea from Ligue 1 side Lille after the Blues’ European Cup triumph in 2012 and is enjoying a stellar second season.
"In France we know Eden really well," added Blanc, who would not be drawn on a potential bid for the Belgium playmaker.
"We always thought he was very impressive in a one-vs-one situation and how fast he is on his feet and his movement.
"Since he got to Chelsea he has scored more and more goals, creates many dangerous opportunities and I’ve also noticed that when Chelsea is in a difficult period of the game, he has the freedom to go everywhere in trying to bring the team up.
"He’s still very young, he has a lot of room for development and I foresee a very bright future."
Hazard is early in his career, while time is running out for 32-year-old PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to earn a Champions League winners’ medal.
Despite plying his trade with many of Europe’s elite clubs – from Ajax to AC Milan to Barcelona – Ibrahimovic has not yet lifted the European Cup.
It is something he is eager to rectify with PSG, but he is not yet ready to consider that it might be this season.
"This is my last contract in Europe and to win it I will have to win it with Paris," said Ibrahimovic, who is under contract at the Parc des Princes until 2016.
"The day I leave Paris is the day I will go down a level or quit football.
"If we will be the kings of Europe, I don’t know. I don’t want to think so far (ahead). Let’s think about the two games against Chelsea."
Ibrahimovic, who has scored 41 goals in his last 36 appearances for club and country, does not expect to get another opportunity with a Premier League club, as PSG’s Qatari owners would be reluctant to let him depart, leaving a host of potential suitors disappointed.
Ibrahimovic, himself, is content.
"It’s impossible to get me to England," added Ibrahimovic, who revealed potential moves earlier in his career did not materialise.
"The day I stop with football it will not be that I look back and I say to myself ‘Maybe I should’ve played in England.’
"I haven’t been part of it. I made stories in other countries. It’s nothing that I regret."
The disappointed would include Mourinho, who managed Ibrahimovic at Inter Milan.
"I connected with him," Ibrahimovic said.
"Wherever he went he won. He’s a great coach, he knows what he’s doing, he knows what he needs to do to win and he has the experience."
Ibrahimovic believes PSG are eight years behind Chelsea in ‘project’ terms after a cash-injection to surpass Roman Abramovich’s in the early years.
As a result, Ibrahimovic believes the Londoners are favourites to advance to the last four for a seventh time in 11 years; PSG are in the quarter-finals for the third time and last season exited to Barcelona on away goals.
"In our game I think Chelsea is the super favourite," he said.