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Beckham's PSG arrival gives me peace, says Ibrahimovic

updated 9:54 AM EDT, Wed April 10, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic says less people chase him now that David Beckham is around
  • Ibrahimovic joined PSG in the summer and Beckham arrived in January
  • Ibrahimovic says Beckham's experience will help PSG for the rest of the season
  • PSG visits Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals Wednesday

(CNN) -- A-list celebrities and big pay packets are overflowing in the Paris Saint-Germain dressing room, but you won't find Zlatan Ibrahimovic complaining.

In fact he is absolutely delighted that David Beckham has joined him at PSG.

Was it because of Beckham's ability to hit pinpoint crosses and corner kicks? That helps. But mostly Beckham's arrival in the French capital has meant the paparazzi are leaving Ibrahimovic in peace.

The 31-year-old Swede was sold to PSG from AC Milan as part of a summer clear-out by the Italian club while Beckham, one of the most recognized people in the world, signed with the French club on a free transfer in January.

"I think it's good for me that Beckham came so he gets more attention than me, so they leave me a little bit alone," Ibrahimovic told CNN.

"Since I came here, everybody said don't worry, as a football player you can walk in the city and nobody will disturb you because as a football player it is not like it is in Italy.

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"But since the day I came here it's been totally stressful. Everybody is chasing me with their scooters. I don't even walk in the streets.

"So when David came he got more of the media (attention). That's good because he takes care of that and I can play football and focus on football."

When PSG signed Beckham, many said the move was simply an exercise in public relations meant to bolster the profile of the team, which is backed by wealthy Qatari owners -- the Qatar Investment Authority.

Read: Beckham's PSG sacrifice

But Beckham has been frequently used by PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, though the Englishman was criticized by the French press for his performance against Barcelona -- one of Ibrahimovic's former teams -- in the Champions League quarterfinals last week when the sides played to a 2-2 first-leg tie in Paris.

A surprise starter, Beckham was substituted with 20 minutes remaining.

Experience

However Ibrahimovic believes that the former England captain's experience will help PSG as it seeks to upset Barcelona and also claim the French league title for the first time since 1994.

"I think he has been very important for us," Ibrahimovic said. "The club has been changing from a normal club to a top club and Beckham gives you some kind of confidence.

"He has a quality, big quality. He has a touch that I haven't seen many players have. And he is very elegant when he plays."

Despite the criticism leveled at Beckham, Ancelotti has said he would once again start the midfielder in Wednesday's second leg.

If the game at the Camp Nou is as dramatic as the first leg at the Parc des Princest, fans should expect a memorable evening.

Zlatan: Inspiring a nation
Beckham: Tom Cruise is hotter than I am

After Lionel Messi gave Barca a first-half lead, Ibrahimovic drew PSG level from an offside position in the 79th minute before Xavi restored the visitors' one-goal advantage with an 89th minute penalty.

But instead of the visitor walking away with a 2-1 victory, Blaise Matuidi boosted PSG's second-leg prospects with a deflected effort four minutes into injury time.

Another boost for PSG would come if Messi doesn't play Wednesday, and he is a doubt after sustaining a hamstring injury in the first leg.

After the first leg, Barcelona lodged an official complaint to UEFA, angered about the standard of refereeing.

Besides Ibrahimovic's offside goal, the Catalans were upset that German referee Wolfgang Stark allowed play to continue when Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba collided in the second half, leaving both Barcelona defenders prone on the ground.

Bayern Munich will be favored to advance against Juventus in Wednesday's other quarterfinal second leg, holding a 2-0 advantage. Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund progressed Tuesday to reach the semifinals.

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