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Rusty and short of fitness, Ibrahimovic shows quality with debut strike

Montpellier boss Girard: We must figure out how to stop Ibrahimovic

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Montpellier boss Girard: We must figure out how to stop Ibrahimovic

WASHINGTON -- He was rusty, out of shape, and for most of his involvement, looked rudderless. But, for one brief moment, Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed why many think he's the best striker in the world.

Three minutes into his PSG debut, Ibrahimovic collected a through ball from Jeremy Menez, shook off D.C. United defender Daniel Woolard with a sharp cut and stepover, then buried a left-footed strike into the far corner.

“The goal was really fantastic,” PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti said. “He showed fantastic ability in that situation. This is Ibrahimovic.”

The Swedish striker only joined up with his PSG teammates in the United States earlier in the week, and he played 38 minutes in his debut, mostly looking rusty and languid on the RFK Stadium pitch.

“I think he showed not the best condition,” Ancelotti admitted.

Still, the goal was a reminder of the quality the Swede possesses. Not many players in the world are 6-foot-5 with the ability to shake defenders with ease, and the precision to finish where no goalkeeper can save.

“It was a good goal,” Ibrahimovic said. “Menez gave me a good ball and I came in and tried to cut the angle to shoot and I hit it with my left and luckily it went in.”

Luck, it wasn't.

“He started the game well because he scored immediately. He moved well with his teammates,” Ancelotti said.

The game eventually ended in a 1-1 draw, and was a helpful introduction into the way PSG will play with its new star man.

“Of course the teammates search for him, because he has the quality to keep the ball, to pass the ball, to score, so it's normal that he will be more involved in our play,” Ancelotti said.

Following the game, PSG will take on Barcelona in an Aug. 4 friendly before starting its season on Aug. 11 against Lorient.

"I've been here three or four days and very happy to be here, to get to know the players,” Ibrahimovic said. “It was my first game since that period. And now this is over, so I'll continue to train hard and to come in shape and to be in 100 percent condition.”

A 100 percent Ibrahimovic? That's a thought that should strike fear into the heart of any defender.

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