It was an emotional night at the Parc des Princes Saturday as Zlatan Ibrahimovic walked out of the tunnel for the last time in front of the home supporters.
The 4-0 win over FC Nantes was an afterthought as the evening belonged to the Sweden international. The atmosphere was electric and in the 10th minute, the referee stopped the game so that the entire stadium could rise and pay homage to arguably the best player to ever wear a PSG shirt. Seven minutes later, Ibrahimovic would bring the crowd to their feat once again when he chested a pass from Angel Di Maria past Maxime Dupé to tie Carlos Bianchi’s club record of 37 goals in a Ligue 1 season.
As you would expect, Nantes were never really in the game and recorded only three shots on goal. PSG meanwhile were relentless in attack (13 shots on target) with Di Maria and Javier Pastore creating multiple chances for Ibrahimovic. Dupé to his credit made nine saves to keep the scoreline somewhat respectable.
Minutes before halftime, Lucas Moura would double PSG’s lead when he found himself on the end of a pass from Di Maria and patiently waited for Dupé to go to ground before slotting his shot into the back of the net. The goal is an important one because before the match, it was reported that the Brazilian is unhappy with his lack of playing time. The goal will do his confidence some good and with an offseason full of change expected at PSG, he will need that confidence to fight for his place in the starting XI.
In the 52nd minute, Paris Saint-Germain put Nantes out of their misery. With a free kick awarded on the edge of the box, the stage seemed set for Ibrahimovic to break Bianchi’s record with one of his patented shots from distance but it was not meant to be. Instead, Zlatan’s shot was saved by Dupé and the rebound fell to Marquinhos who calmly tapped the ball into the roof of the net. The birthday boy celebrated his first Ligue 1 goal of the season in exuberant fashion and good for him. With David Luiz struggling late in the season, the versatile Marquinhos has certainly made the case to start next season alongside Thiago Silva.
With a three goal cushion, Ibrahimovic set his sights on the Nantes goal. After Marquinhos’ goal, Zlatan had six attempts on goal that were blocked or went just wide of the goal. It seemed he would just miss out on scoring his 38th goal of the season but in the 89th minute, Ibrahimovic headed Pastore’s lofted pass past Dupé to claim yet another record.
Then, in typical Zlatan fashion, he walked off the pitch (as the game was still being played) escorted by his children wearing jerseys that read “King” and “Legend,” in reference to his tweet the day before.
Much like Kobe Bryant’s last game for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he attempted 50 shots and scored 60 points, Ibrahimovic went out in the most Zlatan way possible. He took 13 shots, scored two goals and broke a record that stood for 38 years, and then “dropped the mic” by walking off the pitch with his kids. Merci Zlatan for all you have done for this club and I for one can’t wait to see you in a managerial role at the Parc in the near future.
Up next for Paris Saint-Germain is Olympique de Marseille next Saturday in the Coupe de France final.
Notes: PSG finish the season with 96 points in Ligue 1. Di Maria’s 18 assists were the highest in Ligue 1. PSG conceded only 19 goals in Ligue 1. The previous record was 21 by Marseille.
Photograph by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images