Ibrahimovic hails ‘fantastic’ Qatar World Cup experience
What Zlatan Ibrahimovic likes most about Qatar is everything.
He made that point in a Sweden press conference on Tuesday, giving 10/10 ratings to all aspects of the World Cup experience and saluting the country’s lack of crime and drug problems.
The 41-year-old AC Milan striker had no part to play in the Qatar 2022 finals, owing to Sweden’s failure to qualify, but he was a guest at the final, being pictured at the Argentina versus France showpiece game along with tennis superstar Novak Djokovic.
Asked for his impressions of the tournament and the country as a whole, Ibrahimovic said: “It was fantastic. As awesome as it gets. I was there for two days with the family.”
He gave a rundown of his ratings for all aspects he encountered, saying: “The organisation: 10 points. The experience: 10 points. The match: 10 points. Crowd: 10 points. The food: 10 points. The journey: 10 points. Everything was 10 points.”
When it was pointed out to Ibrahimovic that Qatar has faced criticism over alleged human rights abuses, Ibrahimovic stuck to his theme and gave a final mark to the country.
“Ten points,” he said.
Pressure groups have claimed women and people from LGBTQ+ communities are particularly badly treated in Qatar, along with migrant workers.
Amnesty International said ahead of the World Cup that hundreds of thousands of such workers had been exploited, pointing to thousands dying suddenly or unexpectedly.
The same organisation said last week that “many thousands of workers have been unable to obtain compensation for horrific abuses linked to the World Cup”, calling on football’s world governing body FIFA to ensure this is rectified.
Qatar has been accused by its critics of attempting to ‘sportswash’ its reputation by putting on a successful major event that runs smoothly and paints the country in a positive light internationally.
Ibrahimovic will not be levelling such an accusation at Qatar’s door, though, because he had a 10/10 time during his stay.
Speaking in a further interview with broadcaster SVT, the former Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain striker added: “I think they have given opportunities to get a job. Then how they treated them, I haven’t been there and seen, so I can’t judge and answer those questions.”
Ibrahimovic played for PSG during the early years of the Qatar Sports Investments era at the Parc des Princes, and Qatari club chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi joined him and Djokovic in their World Cup final photo.
The veteran Swede therefore has that close connection, and Ibrahimovic said: “Qatar as a country, I think it is a system that works. Are there drugs? No. Is there crime? No. Is there crime in Sweden? Yes, very much. Drugs? Yes.
“Qatar’s system works. The Swedish system? It works, but if it works 100 per cent, I don’t know.”