Ligue 1: Zlatan Ibrahimovic backs PSG to retain title

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Confident Paris Saint-Germain can retain Ligue 1 title

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is confident Paris Saint-Germain can retain their Ligue 1 title despite the expected challenge from Monaco.

The principality club, who marked their return to the top flight with a 2-0 win at Bordeaux, host 2012 champions Montpellier on Sunday.

Sweden forward Ibrahimovic welcomes the challenge presented by Claudio Ranieri's expensively-assembled squad, but backed his team-mates to continue their progress.

"I think Monaco's arrival in Ligue 1 is positive. They can attract even more big-name players to come to France," Ibrahimovic said on the Ligue 1 website.

"But we have an advantage: we won the title last season and we've been playing together for a year now.

"We know each other much better than Monaco, whose squad has been completely overhauled over the summer.

"Nonetheless, it will be an engrossing season, with a lot of huge matches.

"This is no easy league. I was lucky enough to win it last season, and I hope to do so again this time around."

Ranieri, meanwhile, intends to take things one step at a time.

He said: "I want to wait for our other matches against the rest of the teams to see how we carry ourselves."

PSG opened up the new campaign with a 1-1 draw at Montpellier, and will be hoping to improve when they host Ajaccio on Sunday.

Lyon, so long the dominant force in French football, thrashed Nice 4-0 on the opening day and travel to Sochaux on Friday night.

Gones captain Clement Grenier said: "It augurs very well for the season ahead and we hope to keep it up. We have to keep working hard."

Marseille beat newly-promoted Guingamp 3-1 and now host Evian in Saturday's late afternoon kick off.

"All is well. As long as there are goals, things are good," said Marseille coach Elie Baup.

Guingamp, meanwhile, travel to Saint Etienne, and Lorient host Nantes.

Merlus coach Christian Gourcuff does not intend to dwell on last week's 1-0 defeat at Lille.

He said: "This was just the first match and we can't afford to let it get us down."

Elsewhere, Lille are at Reims while Toulouse host Bordeaux, Bastia take on Valenciennes and Rennes visit Nice.

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