José A. Espina
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is keen on joining Real Madrid. The move would see the Sweden international follow former Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti to Spain – and again play a key role in the Italian’s side. What's more, Ancelotti has asked Madrid to sign Ibrahimovic after seeing the player shine under his management during a brief but intense period together at the Parc des Princes – one that saw PSG claim their first Ligue 1 title for 20 years and reach the Champions League quarter-finals, suffering a narrow exit at the hands of Barcelona.
For the first time in his career, Ibrahimovic is prepared to take a pay cut, dropping from the huge annual salary (14 million euros net) handed to him by PSG’s Qatari owners to entice him to Paris in summer 2012. At 31, the main gap on Ibra’s CV is the Champions League; playing at Madrid – a historic club out to claim its tenth European Cup – and working under a coach he trusts, he knows that he has a better chance of adding Europe’s top club competition to his medal haul.
A year ago, PSG paid a cash-strapped Milan 21 million euros for Zlatan’s services. Following initial reports of Real Madrid’s interest in the forward, the French club were swift to insist that the player was not for sale. On Tuesday, having seen Edinson Cavani complete his move to PSG, Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis revealed that the Uruguyan will not line up alongside Ibrahimovic – because the former Barcelona man “has agreed a deal with another club”. Right now, Madrid is where he wants to be.