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Ibrahimovic faces long ban for anti-France rant


IbrahimovicA day after scoring a brilliant hat-trick, Paris Saint-Germain’s tempestuous striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will find out Thursday his punishment for comments attacking France and its referees.

The 33-year-old Swedish star faces up to five matches on the Ligue 1 sidelines for a widely televised rant in which he said France did not deserve a team like the star-studded Paris Saint-Germain because of the way it is treated.

The French league’s disciplinary commission, which starts hearing his case at 1600 GMT could impose a four match ban on Ibrahimovic and activate a suspended one match ban imposed in January.

Ibrahimovic will already be missing for the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona next week after his sending off against Chelsea in the last 16.

The hearing has tarnished another stellar week for the Swede whose hat-trick in a 4-1 French Cup semi-final win over Saint Etienne took him to 102 goals for Paris Saint-Germain in less than three seasons.

He is now only seven goals behind the club record 107 by Portuguese star Pauleta.

But the Swede’s stormy personality keeps getting him in trouble.

He was banned for two matches in February for a foul on Saint-Etienne’s Romain Hamouma which was not immediately seen by the referee but was caught on video. Another match ban was suspended.

Ibrahimovic has since been banned by UEFA for his sending off against Chelsea. And televised images were again his downfall against Bordeaux in March.

Furious at referee decisions in the game which PSG lost despite Ibrahimovic’s two goals, the Swede appeared to insult a match official as he left the field.

And he went on: “In 15 years, I have never seen such a referee. In this shit country, this country does not deserve PSG. We are too good for this country.”

Amid a political furore, Ibrahimovic quickly made a video apology for the comments.

With Ibrahimovic in domineering form, Paris will miss him for any lengthy suspension as they target an unprecedented domestic championship, French Cup and League Cup treble.

Paris coach Laurent Blanc reckons a quadruple with the Champions League is also possible.

Media reports said it was not certain whether Ibrahimovic will attend Thursday’s hearing.

The reports said his representatives will plead that the outspoken player was not targeting any particular individual in his tirade.

No matter the punishment, Ibrahimovic will be eligible to play in Saturday’s League Cup final against Bastia.

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