On Friday Sweden play Moldova in the important EURO 2016 Qualification Group G-game. Sweden has been practicing in Sweden and today Zlatan met the Swedish press for a press conference. He talked about his feelings after the attention in France after the Bordeaux-game, his thoughts on the Sweden talents out in Europe as well as his own future in the national team. And he expressed how much he is lokking forward to the Champions League-quarterfinal against Barcelona.
Q 0.01 (TV4): Zlatan, how do you feel after the turbulence in France which you thought were blown out of proportion?
ZLATAN: "Good, very good. I feel good, it's great to be back in the national team and to play the Qualification-game and one friendly game so it feels good. It's something I'm used to, so nothing is unusual after what has happened."
Q 0.27 (TV4): You've previously expressed that the system for suspensions etc in France is a bit strange, what's your take on it?
ZLATAN: "It keeps surprising me, but there's nothing to do but to go with the flow. I can only play my game and do exactly like I did last time (vs Lorient), let my feet speak. The rest can speak for itself."
Q 0.57 (TV4): Did you know you were being filmed when you burst out after the game against Bordeaux?
ZLATAN: "I was totally under control and it doesn't matter if I was being filmed or not. The question is why I was angry. Nobody has discussed that."
TV4: It has been discussed that the referee made a mistake, but so do also players?
ZLATAN: "OK, but we are punished, he is not."
TV4: You think he should be punished?
ZLATAN: "I don't know. What do you think."
TV4: Yeah, I assume that's reasonable. It's good the way it's done in Sweden where referees sometimes announce that they have made a mistake?
ZLATAN: "OK, then they should start doing that. Not just the players."
Q 1.29 (TV4): Does all this affect your will to stay in Paris Saint-Germain?
ZLATAN: "I like it a lot in France. All that's been written and all the bulls***.. I wouldn't have come to France and more importantly I wouldn't have signed a new contract and played there for so long if I hadn't liked it. All the rest that's being said.. They want to pull me down from the top but they won't be successful. Not you either. I like it a lot on the top and that's were I'm gonna stay."
Q 2.02 (Expressen): If you think about the international call-up in November, when you had come back from your injury and was pretty rusty. Compare the form you are in today and then, what do you say?
ZLATAN: "It feels good, I feel good. I need to play games. I lost several games because of my injury and then I got two games suspension so I need to play games all the time and physically it has felt good. As soon as I've gotten back for real, something has happened but when I've finally been on the pitch it has felt great. I've scored 23 goals so far in the games I've played and now it's two months left. It has felt great, I hope I can continue."
Q 2.49 (Expressen): Many think you will play next to Isaac Kiese Thelin in attack on Friday. You've played against him in France, but what are people saying in the PSG-dressing room, has he gained a reputation already after such short time and what are your thoughts on him?
ZLATAN: "We played them (Bordeaux) a week ago and I think he played well. He showed great strength in the duels and he has only been in France a short period of time. In France, a lot of the talk is about PSG but he has done well and now he just has to grow into it and get to know the league and his own team. It usually takes time but everything has been positive so far."
Q 3.38 (Expressen): You (Z + Kiese Thelin) will perhaps start together against Moldova, what do you think you can accomplish and how are you working together in practice?
ZLATAN: "I see it in a good light. He makes an impression, he goes into the physical duels. If I can escape those duels, I save energy to what I'm better at so if he can come in and take that energy and I don't have to, it will all work out. But we'll have to wait and see how Moldova plays. According to the rumours, they will play with 5 defenders, 3 centerbacks so it won't be easy."
Q 4.21 (Expressen): Pia Sundhage (Sweden's Women National Team Manager) in today's newspaper says that you have a standing invitation to the Sweden Women's National Team to come and inspire and talk before their World Cup in Canada, what's your take on that?
ZLATAN: "Yeah, as soon as I get the time, absolutely. Thank you."
Q 4.40 (Aftonbladet): Zlatan, we've seen many young players enter the national team and then disappear from it. Is there anyone in today's squad that will stay there for long? I think about someone like Kiese Thelin, is there anything that indicates that he will remain perhaps longer than many of the others have in the past?
ZLATAN: "Like the situation is now, there is a great chance for everybody to break into the national team. Even for the ones that are not here. Everything comes down to when you get the chance, you have to take it. That's what it's very much about. As open as it is now, I don't think it has been for the 10-12 (14) years I've played in the national team. Then there's been a squad and single players have come and gone but as open as it is now, it's never been before. It's a big opportunity for everyone out there who wants to be apart and achieve something in the national team. Everything comes down to grasping the opportunity when it's presented to you and not only be thankful and happy that you were selected. That's the easy part, being selected. The hard part is to stay."
Aftonbladet: Are there many, you think, that have been too thankful just to have come here and then not taken the chance?
ZLATAN: "I don't know if it's been that they have been too thankful or that they are not good enough or that they haven't played enough in their club teams to develop. There's a big difference between club team and national team. You play on a high level in the club team but the national team is the absolute top and you can't come any higher than that. There you play with world class players against other nations at the top and the game is quick with better quality on all levels. Either it's the lack of playing games and not having developed to the player they can be or they are just not good enough. It's one of those two but I don't know the answer."
Q 6.45 (TV4): There are many (Swedish) young players that are having a hard time making a serious impact in their club teams, what do you think they are missing or rather what's expected from them in the club team?
ZLATAN: "I don't know the situation for everybody."
TV4: But generally?
ZLATAN: "It's a good question. Like the two answers I gave before. Either not good enough or lack of playing time but why they are not getting enough playing time.. Either you are not good enough or something else has happened."
Q 7.33 ( TV4): As we all know, you were drawn against Barcelona (In CL) again, what's your thoughts on the game and what did you think when you saw the draw?
ZLATAN: "Good game. We've been drawn them many times now, even when I was in Milan we got Barcelona and it will be two fantastic games. Too bad I will miss one of them. It's like when we were gonna play Chelsea. Everybody complained "tough opponent", "it will be tough", "we will not be able to handle it" but we got two brilliant games, we made it and that's what Champions League is all about, to play these big games. And when you then go through, the feeling is obviously better, you can't describe it. We are gonna prepare in the best possible way, we knocked out Chelsea, we've shown that we belong at the top and it will be two new games. It won't be easy but it will be great to play."
Q 8.27 (TV4): Is this your last Qualification with the national team, you think?
ZLATAN: "We'll see. I have a contract until 2016. What happens after that, I don't know. I haven't thought that far but it's possible. Very possible."
Q 8.52 (TV4): No matter if it's the last one or not, what would it mean to you to play a championship with Sweden again?
ZLATAN: "Everything, of course. If I can experience another championship with my country, it can't get any better and I know from the other tournaments we've played how it's to be there.. The games that are played, the players who are there. You just walk around and enjoy it.. The audience, you see the support you get.. Yeah, it's an experience hard to describe. I only hope the young players who come in to the national team get to experience what I've experienced and even more. It would mean everything to me and I hope we will make it so I get to play the championship (EURO 2016) in France."
Q 9.47 (Expressen): The eternal question about how long you will play.. Your agent (Mino Raiola), in a light-spirited mood, said you will play until you are 42-43 but have you set a far limit for how long you can play?
ZLATAN: "No, I haven't. I've always said I will play as long as I'm on top and when it comes to the football not live on my name. I play as long as I feel I can perform. The day I can't perform, there's no need to play anymore. I don't think it's fair to the younger players and what you (the journalists) have to worry about is who to write about when I retire."
Q 10.35 (Aftonbladet): Zlatan, for the last 10-15 years, you've had the highest status in all rooms you've entered. Does it still ever happen that you are being yelled at, that you are being criticised and someone says "goddammit Zlatan, step up"?
ZLATAN: "Every day, that's what it's all about. You give and you take. You are supposed to be able to give criticism to everybody but self-criticism is also something I have. If I don't do it well enough, I'm triggered and more than anything when it's from people that are close to me. It means that it means something. Then all this that is happening in France, this Olof (journalist) describes as "turbulence", the panic.. to me that's normal. To me that's no problem, believe me. If it was turbulence for me and then I go in and score three goals, that means that it doesn't itch anywhere. But when people are close to me and says something, positive or negative, that I take seriously. That's what matters. They understand me, they know me and they read the situation in a completely different way. All the other people.. Believe me, like I said, it doesn't itch anywhere. Even if it's ministers or journalists. "What goes around, comes around" (english), it's as simple as that."
Q 12.00 (DN): Zlatan, El Clásico on Sunday was a fantastic game but it also contained a lot of divings (fake-falls etc), what do you think you can do to get to that problem?
ZLATAN: "What can you do? Hmm.. I myself had a situation against Chelsea. I got a red card. How am I supposed to react to that? I don't know if I'm supposed to be pissed off or to be calm about it. Two different situations.. Three days after I get pissed off with the referee for a mistake he makes. If you look at both situations, I should be more angry about the wrong red card than the mistake the referee made (the Bordeaux-goalkeeper took up a pass from a defender with his hands but the referee didn't blow the whistle). Or to me it's not just a mistake, it was not acceptable and it's still not acceptable. How are you supposed to deal with that? I should really be pissed off about the red card and not the other situation where he should do and know his job and do it the right way. It's two completely different situations. One dives there (Oscar, Chelsea), I don't get pissed off. One makes a mistake here (referee, Bordeaux-PSG) and I get pissed off. It's not in my world, it doesn't belong in my world and never will. I play to win and will do anything to win. But diving.. There's no way. No way. But it's out there and I don't know it it's become a part of the game. I don't hope so but it will keep happening."
Source: Swedish FA/Fotbollskanalen.
Note: The video can only be shown in Sweden. For international visitors we recommend installing the software Zen Mate in Google Chrome.