Solna: Paris Saint-Germain star Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Wednesday defended himself following a remarkable outburst earlier this month in which he labelled France a "shit country".
Ibrahimovic will go before the disciplinary commission of the French league on April 9 for incendiary comments made after PSG's 3-2 Ligue 1 defeat at Bordeaux on March 15, when he said: "In 15 years, I have never seen such a referee. In this shit country, this country does not deserve PSG. We are too good for this country."
However, during a press conference in Solna, near Stockhom, ahead of Sweden's Euro 2016 qualifying trip to Moldova on Friday, Ibrahimovic said: "I was punished instead of the referee for errors that he made." When asked if the referee in the game in question, Lionel Jaffredo, deserved to be punished, Ibrahimovic replied: "No idea.
What do you think? We are punished, he isn't." His comments about France drew criticism from French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, but Ibrahimovic said he enjoyed playing in Ligue 1, where he arrived from AC Milan in 2012. "I like France! Everything else is rubbish. I would not have come to France if I didn't like it, and I certainly wouldn't have extended my contract if I didn't like it.
I would not have played for so long if I didn't like it," he said. The 33-year-old also hit out at the decision to hand him a one-match Champions League ban following his sending-off against Chelsea recently. "If you look at the situation, I am going to be punished more for an unjustifiable red card than the referee for his mistake... It is not acceptable," he said. He will miss the first leg of PSG's quarter-final against his old club Barcelona in Paris on April 15.