Zlatan Ibrahimovic has moved to clarify comments he made about women's football, insisting his remarks were a joke taken out of context by an "ignorant" reporter.
The Paris Saint-Germain star was quoted to have branded the women's game as "boring and sad" following an awards event in his native Sweden earlier this month.
The Swedish Football Association was slammed for its decision to award Anders Svensson a car for breaking the international appearance record held by Thomas Ravelli, despite women's midfielder Therese Sjogran receiving no such recognition for reaching a greater number of caps.
Ibrahimovic, however, insists his comments were not reported correctly at the time.
"In Sweden, it's a sensitive topic. The only thing I said was that you cannot compare the two," he said on the matter. "As I said, I respect them a lot, they've done a very good job, but that time I was talking to a journalist who was ignorant because I was making a joke and he wrote it out of context in his article.
"But it's my fault, because I shouldn't have spoken to this reporter. I won a prize, but this paper focused solely on the issues of women's football, so if I win the award next year, it won't be interesting, believe me."
PSG faces Real Madrid in a friendly in Doha on Thursday as the teams prepare for the second half of the season and Ibrahimovic believes the meeting will be a useful contest for both European heavyweights.
"It is a big match between two great teams," the Swede, who has scored 23 goals for PSG in all competitions this season, said.
"It's a great contest here in Doha, and I hope it will help us prepare for 2014. Obviously we will be hoping to win this match."
- Sports & Recreation
- Swedish Football Association
- Paris Saint-Germain
- Anders Svensson
- Thomas Ravelli