Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a player who never shies away from the spotlight, and he stepped right up into the bright lights of Europe once again on Wednesday night.
In Paris St. Germain's 5-0 UEFA Champions League Group C win over Anderlecht, the towering Swede delivered a first-half hat-trick for the Parisians and notched a fourth goal later in the match.
Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the 17th minute at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels. He side-footed a shot home after receiving an assist from Gregory van der Wiel.
Just five minutes later, Ibrahimovic buried home his second goal of the match as he put home yet another pass from van der Wiel that put the Ligue 1 side up by two goals.
With PSG in the driver's seat against the Belgian champions, who have not recorded a single point in group play so far, Ibrahimovic let loose a screaming shot in the 36th minute that beat Anderlecht keeper Thomas Kaminski with ease.
The Parisians went into the dressing room up by three goals with more sure to come in the second half against an Anderlecht side that conceded five times in their two previous Group C matches.
With his hat-trick, Ibrahimovic became the first PSG player and the first Swede to record a hat-trick in the Champions League:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the first PSG player and the first Swede with a Champions League hat trick.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 23, 2013
The four goals add to the total of six scored by the Sweden international in this season's edition of Europe's premier club competition.
While the goals themselves were impressive to say the least, the context is equally as significant. According to OptaJoe on Twitter, Ibrahimovic made some history with his performance:
10 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the 10th player in Champions League history to score 4+ goals in a single game. Monster.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 23, 2013
With his showing on Wendesday night, Ibrahimovic eclipsed George Weah as the top scorer in club history in the Champions League:
9 - Zlatan Ibrahimović overtook George Weah (7) as PSG top-scorer in the #UCL history. Romantic— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 23, 2013
Five goals is the record for a UCL match, and no player has ever scored six. Furthermore, the only player to net five goals in the Champions League era (not including the European Cup era or preliminary matches) is Lionel Messi.
Clearly, Ibrahimovic's performance against Anderlecht is one of the best in a very long time.