Ranking Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Top 6 Goals for Paris Saint-Germain
Ibrahimovic's two finishes against Saint-Etienne marked his 24th and 25th league goals of the Ligue 1 campaign. They were also his 39th and 40th of the season in total, surpassing the record set by Bianchi in 1977/78.
These strikes are as varied as they are impressive. Some have been selected for their importance, crucial goals at crucial times. Some for their sheer brilliance, whether they are improvised volleys or a thunderbolt from distance.
Before we begin with the list, a few goals that did not make the cut deserve honourable mention. First is the impudent stabbed volley against Marseille back in October 2012, a fine improvised effort that remarkably wasn't even his best goal in the game.
Second is the record-breaking goal itself, the close-range volley against Saint-Etienne this weekend. A significant goal, it misses out simply because in terms of sheer brilliance, it cannot compete with the others in contention for a place in the top six.
Zlatan has scored all manner of brilliant goals and will undoubtedly score many more before the season ends. Only Lionel Messi, with 10, has scored as many as Ibrahimovic in one of Europe's top leagues this calendar year.
So read on and enjoy six of the Swedish striker's finest goals for Les Parisiens.
6. Impudent Penalty Against Lyon
This goal makes the cut because of the audacity in its intent and the perfection in its execution. PSG were only 1-0 ahead when the penalty was awarded, and many a top striker in such a position would look to smash home from the spot to seal the game.
Not Ibrahimovic. A deceptively forceful runup disguised the expertly dinked chip, lofted high into the net past the helpless Remy Vercoutre in the Lyon goal.
As "Panenka penalties" go, this is up there with the very best, and it is a worthy inclusion in a list of the Swedish striker's best goals.
5. Free-Kick Against Marseille
Another strike from a dead-ball situation is next up in our rundown. However, this goal is from fully 35 yards rather than 12.
This was Ibrahimovic's second goal of the first French classique of 2012. Marseille had stormed into an early lead, but two goals from PSG's talismanic striker completely turned the tables midway through the first half.
Clocked at an extraordinary 101 km/hour, this missile of a free-kick left Marseille keeper Mandanda clutching at thin air as it swerved and dipped just inside his near post.
This also marked Ibra's fourth brace in only seven league appearances. For completing that impressive statistic, and for the sheer power from such range, this merits its place in the top five.
4. Thunderbolt Away to Bayer Leverkusen
To score away from home in the Champions League is a great moment for a player. To do so from distance, with your unfavoured left foot, is something else.
In Germany, Ibrahimovic did exactly this, reacting first to a loose ball on the edge of the box and drilling a thunderbolt of a shot high into the top corner.
After the match, Zlatan told reporters that he did not have a weaker foot, and after his sweet strike during the game, it is hard to disagree.
The importance of the occasion, coupled with the speed and accuracy of the shot, means it deserves to be up there with his best goals in a PSG shirt.
3. Instinctive Chip Against Nantes
Into the top three we go, and this goal is undoubtedly worthy of a place because of the speed of thought needed to see the opportunity and the talent needed to execute it perfectly.
Less than five minutes into the semi-final of this Coupe de la Ligue match, Nantes keeper Remy Riou mis-cued a clearance straight to Ibrahimovic.
Whereas most players would need at least one touch to control the ball, Ibrahimovic instinctively floated back a first-time chip over the stranded stopper and into the back of the net.
To execute such an audacious chip so well, in such a big game, is a testament to Ibrahimovic's inventiveness and panache, not to mention his technical ability. One of the Swedish striker's all-time best goals, this is deserving of a place inside his top three for PSG.
2. Incredible Backheel Against Bastia
At No. 2 is one of the most unique finishes ever seen in football.
Only 10 minutes of PSG's Ligue 1 clash against Bastia had been played when Lucas Moura's right-wing cross deflected high up into the air inside the Bastia penalty area.
As it dropped, Zlatan met it full on the volley with an acrobatic karate-kicked backheel, sending the ball flying into the top corner of the net.
The roar heard inside the Parc des Princes was one of joy mixed with disbelief at what they had just witnessed. Indeed, it takes more than one viewing to work out quite how Ibrahimovic contorts his body to flick the ball home.
A sensational goal, impressive in both inventiveness and execution, and one of the best, most creative efforts seen at the Parc des Princes for some time.
1. Wonder Goal Against Anderlecht
This is the best goal Ibrahimovic has scored for PSG, netted during the best performance he has produced for PSG.
In a match dominated by PSG's figurehead striker, this goal was the pick of the bunch. Ibrahimovic netted four goals as Les Parisiens ran out 5-0 winners away in Belgium during the Champions League group stage.
This wonderful long-range strike was a fitting way to complete a marvellous hat-trick. A Maxwell cross was nodded clear to the edge of the box, only for Ibrahimovic to stride onto it and smash the ball with ferocious power into the top corner.
The strike is so quick that television footage of the match almost fails to keep up with it as it dips just under the bar and bulges into the back of the net.
On a famous European night for PSG, Zlatan put in a famous performance, and this goal was the highlight. A breathtaking hit from some way out, this goal is Ibrahimovic's best yet for PSG, but we suspect there may be many more to come.