Sport

'Ibra' joins big-spending PSG from Milan

Thursday, July 19, 2012    

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PARIS, France (AFP) — Swedish superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic greeted fans of his new club Paris Saint-Germain in an ostentatious presentation ceremony in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris yesterday.

Having completed his 20-million-euro ($24.5-million, £15.7-million) move to the ambitious French side from AC Milan earlier in the day, the 30-year-old striker made a brief appearance at the Place du Trocadero to the west of the city centre.

In front of several hundred fans, onlookers and journalists, the Sweden captain posed with a PSG jersey before kicking a ball high into the crowd, as Paris' iconic Eiffel Tower shimmered in the sunshine behind him.

He was then ushered to a waiting car by security personnel wearing black suits and sunglasses, as supporters chanted 'Ibra! Ibra!' and 'Merci Zlatan!' ('Thank you, Zlatan!').

Earlier, he had appeared in front of the media at PSG's Parc des Princes stadium, after signing a three-year contract that will reportedly earn him 14 million euros a year.

"I want to thank Paris Saint-Germain and (sporting director) Leonardo for the great work they've done," Ibrahimovic told reporters.

"I think they've made something that looked impossible, possible. I'm very happy to be sitting here. After lots of talks, I'm finally a PSG player. It's a big step in my career, another dream come true," he said.

Ibrahimovic follows in the footsteps of former Milan colleague Thiago Silva, who completed a 42-million-euro move to Paris last week that made the Brazil centre-back the most expensive player in French football history.

The departures of Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic have robbed Milan of their two brightest stars, but Ibrahimovic said he had not been encouraged to leave the cash-strapped San Siro club with whom he won the 2011 Italian title.

"No-one at Milan influenced me," he said. "It was my choice and my choice alone."

Having seen their side pipped to the Ligue One title by Montpellier last season, PSG's owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), have redoubled their efforts to turn the team into one of Europe's leading sides.

Ibrahimovic is the fourth player to have joined the club from Serie A this summer, after Thiago Silva, Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi and 19-year-old midfielder Marco Verratti, who was also presented to the press on Wednesday.

The signings of Ibrahimovic and Verratti take PSG's spending on transfers alone to around 100 million euros this summer and over 200 million euros since QSI bought the club a year ago.

Leonardo said that the acquisition of Ibrahimovic represented the end of the club's summer spending.

"The market is closed for new arrivals," he said. "With Zlatan we've finished in the transfer window this year."

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