Ligue 1 news

Lovren: Zlatan's status saved him

January 15, 2013
By Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Dejan Lovren has suggested Zlatan Ibrahimovic's "superstar" status was the reason for the Paris Saint-Germain striker escaping a ban for an ugly clash with the Lyon defender.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dejan Lovren
PA PhotosLyon were unhappy with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's actions during PSG's 1-0 victory

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Lovren was left with a head wound after he fell in front of Ibrahimovic during PSG's 1-0 win over Lyon on December 16. As the Sweden international leapt over his opponent, he caught the centre-back with his left boot as he landed, prompting both Lovren and Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas to accuse the striker of deliberately making contact.

However, after a hearing of the French Football League's (LFP) Disciplinary Commission last Thursday, it was decided no action should be taken against the PSG man.

"I was a little bit surprised. For me, there was a foul. I've already forgotten about it, I don't want to add anything else," Lovren said. "That's football. Perhaps they said to themselves that he's a superstar, so he's a bit more protected than the others, but I think that's normal."

Had Ibrahimovic been found guilty of stamping, he may have faced a lengthy suspension having already been dismissed for a dangerous, chest-high challenge on Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier earlier in the season.

Aulas' post-match comments in particular sparked a war of words between himself and PSG sporting director Leonardo, while Ibrahimovic, who was not present in person at the disciplinary hearing, always maintained his innocence.

"It's impossible that I did it deliberately," he told BeIn Sport shortly afterwards. "Look at the pictures, I'm always looking at the ball. Lovren rolls with momentum. When I go onto the pitch, it's certainly not to injure someone, I've never had that intention."