Zlatan Ibrahimovic is focused on helping Sweden qualify for the knockout stages at Euro 2016 and is hoping to continue “dominating wherever he goes” during the tournament in France.
Ibrahimovic will become the first man to score at four European Championships if he finds the net in this tournament, starting against the Republic of Ireland in Paris on Monday.
The 34-year-old is Sweden’s captain and talisman and, despite the now customary boasts about his talent, is adamant progress in France is his primary concern.
He said: “I feel really strong at the moment, I am getting better and better every year that passes.
“It’s all about developing and learning new things and not being satisfied. You have to have the hunger to become a better player. That’s when I am satisfied, when I learn new things.
“I’ve been dominating wherever I go, I have no issue about that. I feel confident, I feel strong, mentally very strong and I come here to enjoy it.
“It would be great [to score in four European Championships] but the individual objectives come second because the collective is more important.
“If the collective does well, the individual comes out of that.”
Ibrahimovic accepts all eyes will be on him at the Stade de France in a city he has graced with Paris Saint-Germain – something he is happy with.
He added: “I take responsibility on and off the field. To become a leader is not something you choose, it’s something you grow into.
“I’ve had this role over the past few years, it has made me a better player, stronger mentally, on and off the pitch and I am comfortable with that.
“You become the best by having team-mates around you that make you become the best. If the collective succeeds, you succeed.”
The former Barcelona and Inter star, who has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United, dismissed suggestions the Ireland back four lacked pace – “I’m also slow so it doesn’t matter. They can still be good even if they are slow” – and admitted the result against Martin O’Neill’s men could go either way.
“It will be a tough match, Ireland are a good team. I agree with [Sweden coach] Erik Hamren, it’s going to be a 50-50 game. What happens on the pitch is what matters, it’s all about the 90 minutes.”
Ibrahimovic suggested he demands less from his Sweden team-mates than he did of PSG’s expensively-assembled squad.
“I think it’s all about balance, being patient. I play differently with PSG obviously but you must be patient in what you expect from your team-mates.
“At PSG I make demands. Here I can’t make the same demands out of the players.
“I’ve got the maximum out of what I’ve done with the national team. I have good chemistry with all the players, I work for them and they work for me.”
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