It has not been the best of situations in which to play football in Europe during the past days following the fatal terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening. Bombs were heard exploding outside the Stade de France during the France versus Germany friendly international and security issues prevented any play in scheduled games between Belgium and Spain plus Germany and Netherlands. The England and French teams did offer a fitting tribute to the Parisian victims during their game on Tuesday, but the player who has arguably been the talisman of Paris football during recent seasons was involved in a two-legged playoff tie for Euro 2016 during the weekend, and perhaps appropriately scored the vital goals for his country.
For Zlatan Ibrahimovic, recent days will not have been easy on a personal level. Having moved to Paris Saint-Germain in July 2012, the Swedish international has netted more than 80 Ligue 1 goals for the French champions since his arrival in the French capital with several more netted in the Champions League and domestic cup competitions. The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker is virtually worshipped at Parc des Princes Stadium, where his role in shaping recent success at PSG is much acclaimed.
Ibrahimovic would have probably watched TV on Friday evening and Saturday morning as events enfolded in Paris with many of his fans probably directly involved in the drama. Yet the PSG striker helped his team to win 2-1 in their first leg game against Scandinavian rivals Denmark and score the second goal.
An even better personal performance was produced on Tuesday evening when Ibrahimovic score the opening two goals during the return match before Denmark eventually claimed a draw, but failed to prevent Sweden from qualifying for Euro 2016.
The Swedes join Republic of Ireland, Ukraine and Hungary as fellow qualifiers from the playoff round, but for Ibrahimovic, a return to Paris beckons, although PSG are scheduled to play at Lorient on Saturday afternoon. There will be much emotion at all French Ligue 1 football this weekend and the fact that PSG are playing away from Paris may help to alleviate some the extensive security issues which may have been required in the French capital.
On Wednesday 24th November, Ibrahimovic must then return to Sweden when Malmo host PSG, before a first home match is played in Paris since the atrocities, when basement team Troyes are the visitors.
Top flight footballers are often described as being overpaid and enjoying an easy lifestyle but for Ibrahimovic and his PSG team-mates in particular, they will now be playing under the threat of potential terrorist action in a city where suicide bombers almost caused carnage at an international football game on Friday evening.
Ibrahimovic will now hope that his goals will continue to offer hope for his Paris supporters during these most difficult times.
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