The Italian is in awe of the Sweden striker, and insists that he has no regrets over turning down Juventus prior to his move to the Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti admits he is “honoured” to play alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claiming the striker is one of the world’s top three players.
The Sweden international has scored a remarkable 32 goals in 34 appearances so far this season, helping PSG to the top of Ligue 1 and into the last 16 of the Champions League.
Verratti is only 21 but he believes he is unlikely to ever come across anyone quite like Ibrahimovic again.
“I’ve never played with someone so strong and I probably never will again in my career. Zlatan is one of the best three in the world, it’s an honour to have him at PSG,” Verratti told Corriere dello Sport.
Verratti joined PSG from Pescara in 2012 but had been expected to move to Juventus instead, having been hailed as the ‘new Andrea Pirlo’.
However, the playmaker says he does not regret his decision to choose Paris over Turin.
“I made the best choice coming to PSG, and after almost two years I have no doubts about it. I’ve been very well received, I’m playing and wearing the jersey of a side that can win it all,” Verratti enthused.
“I’ve made progress in every point of view, because the players teach me many things, on and off the field. But the greatest growth was in mentality: here you play to win and you cannot ever give up.
“If I could go back, I would make the same choice. Profesionally, this is the best: they are one of the five biggest clubs in the world.
“I don’t know when [I would return to Italy] as right now it’s unlikely I would want to change.”
Meanwhile, Verratti is eager for PSG to learn from last season’s experience in the Champions League, when they lost on away goals to Barcelona, as they prepare for next week’s encounter with Bayer Leverkusen.
“The Champions League is not easy, as we learned to our cost last year when we went out without losing,” he said.
“Bayern [Munich] are the team to beat but [coach Carlo] Ancelotti has found great balance at Real Madrid.
“Anything can happen in the second round. Bayer are strong, but we have to think of ourselves, and not make mistakes.”
As for the constant comparisons with Pirlo, Verratti says he welcomes the pressure on him to emulate the 2006 World Cup winner.
“They don’t weigh [heavily] on me; I’m quite pleased,” he insisted. “I prefer to play with pressure rather than being relaxed. Pirlo has had a great career, I would be happy to win half of what he has won.
“First I have to earn the call-up, which has been a dream since I was a child. Then it’s up to [Italy coach Cesare] Prandelli.
“It would be fantastic [to win the World Cup in Brazil this summer].”