The legend can still deliver

The legend can still deliver

Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists “the legend can still deliver” as Sweden’s skipper prepares for Monday’s Euro 2016 opener with the Republic of Ireland.

The former AC Milan and Barcelona forward, who again played down talk of a move to Manchester United, was asked on Sunday afternoon what kept him still playing at the age of 34.

“I am getting better with every year that passes,” said Ibrahimovic who will be playing in his sixth major international tournament. “It’s all about developing and learning new things and not being satisfied.

“I want to play on so that I can show that ‘the legend’ can still deliver. I have been dominating wherever I go, I have no issue about that. I will continue dominating. I go in with a strong season behind me. I come here to enjoy.

“You need the hunger to be a better player. That’s when I feel I have accomplished something, when I learn new things. I demands new things and to learn and to work hard on the pitch. I know what I want and I know I will do it – simple as that.

“I come to France, where I have been living for the last four years now, I know the country very well. I’m 100 per cent sure they know me better than I know them, so wherever I go, I enjoy it and I have been dominating wherever I go.”

Ibrahimovic’s build-up has involved intense speculation over who his next club would be with his contract at PSG expiring.

On Roy Keane’s comments that he would have a similar effect at Old Trafford as Eric Cantona, Ibrahimovic added: “I take it as a compliment because if a player like Roy Keane speaks he knows what he’s talking about, he has been in the game.

“For me, with Manchester [United], there is nothing to say. I feel happy for the moment. What the future will be, you will know soon. But I enjoy football. Wherever I go I will be the same person and I will enjoy.

“I feel strong. I go into it with a good season behind me. I have the greatest pressure on my shoulders. I want to take the pressure off the team. I’m used to it.

“I want to take the pressure off my team mates as much as possible. I want them to enjoy it and go out and play. There is no greater honour than playing in a Euros with your country.”

One concern for the Swedes could be the lack of support with the prospect of thousands of fans being left stranded at home if a strike by pilots at Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is not resolved.

The strike, which started on Friday after wage talks broke down, led to the cancellation of 220 flights on Sunday affecting 26,000 passengers, many of them travelling to France.

With limited alternatives to reach Paris, some have gone to great lengths to make other arrangements with one fan driving 250 kilometres from her home in Taernendo to Kallax airport in northern Sweden when she discovered her SAS flight to Stockholm had been cancelled.

Rather than turn back, she and her friends drove a further 1,100km to the Swedish capital to make the connecting flights to Paris via Oslo.

The fan Fanny Pekkari said: “We’re going to see the game, no matter what it costs.”

Catch up with all the latest Euro 2016 news with ‘Euro Breakfast’ each morning on Sky Sports News HQ from 6am

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Frazier Omondi