Ibrahimovic warning for Benfica
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has claimed Paris Saint-Germain will attempt to show in Wednesday’s meeting with Benfica that they are "serious contenders" to win the Champions League.
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Ibrahimovic, 31, will likely lead the line for Laurent Blanc's side when they step out for their second Group C encounter at the Parc des Princes. Though the Swede and his team-mates have not convinced in Ligue 1, they beat Olympiakos handsomely a fortnight ago.
Having reached the quarter-finals last season, bowing out valiantly to Barcelona, Ibrahimovic firmly believes the squad now has the wherewithal to do better still this season.
He said: "There's a big difference from last year, because people were wondering how far PSG could go in the Champions League. This year, all the teams know PSG with the results that we've had, and the players we've recruited.
"Teams have more respect for PSG. After a year in the Champions League, the club has more experience. We'll do all we can to win tomorrow against Benfica and show that we can be serious contenders for the title."
Blanc will need Thiago Silva if he is to guide PSG through European club football's premier competition, but the Brazil captain will miss the Benfica encounter with a thigh problem.
His compatriot, Alex, should return from an identical injury however and line up alongside Marquinhos in central defence to help keep the Portuguese visitors, who can expect significant backing from France's Lusitanian community, at bay.
"They're a very good team with a lot of experience of European competition," Ibrahimovic said. "It's not going to be easy, but we're playing at home. If we win on Wednesday, we'll have a good advantage for the rest of the group stage."