Former AC Milan defender Taye Taiwo has suggested Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s “obsession to be the saviour” has counted against him in the Champions League.
The Sweden international has claimed 12 league titles across four different countries in a glittering career, but has yet to lift European club football’s top prize.
Ibrahimovic fired in a deflected free-kick in Paris Saint-Germain’s last-16 first leg against Chelsea but has often been criticised for his performances during the latter stages of the tournament, having scored just eight goals in 37 knock-out games.
And Taiwo, who played alongside the 34-year-old at Milan, says there is a palpable shift in the striker’s mentality when it comes to the latter stages of the competition.
“From the last 16 on, I could sense he was more nervous,” he told L’Equipe. “In fact, Zlatan had an obsession to be the saviour.”
Veteran defender Jonathan Zebina – who had a bust-up with Ibrahimovic during their time at Juventus – echoed the belief that a mental block has been his undoing in the past.
“You would have to be stupid to deny his talent but the statistics are there,” he told the same publication.
“He has the physique, the talent and today he has the experience. For me, the explanation can only be mental. Does he put himself under too much pressure?”
Former France international David Trezeguet, however, insists Ibrahimovic is determined to improve his Champions League displays and has backed him to be decisive in Wednesday’s second leg at Stamford Bridge.
“He’s worked to correct that,” he added.
“I feel that he wants to contradict these stats. PSG will need the best version of Zlatan and I’m sure that he will be decisive.”
PSG head into the fixture with a 2-1 aggregate lead over the Premier League champions.