PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic is up against two of his Paris Saint-Germain teammates and title rival Monaco's James Rodriguez as he bids to win the French league's Player of the Year award for the second straight year.
Ibrahimovic won it last year after scoring a career-high 30 league goals to lead PSG to its first league title since 1994, and the Sweden striker is favorite again after scoring 25 league goals in another prolific season. He was on course to beat his tally from last term before picking up a hamstring injury in the first leg of PSG's Champions League quarterfinal against Chelsea on April 2.
Central midfielder Thiago Motta and center back Thiago Silva are the other two PSG players. The winner is announced on May 11.
The 32-year-old Ibrahimovic has scored 40 goals in all competitions this season, several of them spectacular, and has set up many others — including 11 in the league, one less than the Colombia winger Rodriguez, who has also netted nine league goals so far.
"I think it's been a fantastic season, for the team, for the club," Ibrahimovic said Thursday on RTL radio. "The club's developing and improving on every level. It's the sign that the team's had a very good year. I don't know who will win, but I hope it's a PSG player."
PSG won the League Cup final last month, beating Lyon 2-1, has an eight-point lead over Monaco and can guarantee a second straight title by beating Rennes at home on Wednesday, or even if Monaco fails to beat Guingamp the same evening.
PSG went out in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, beating Chelsea 3-1 at home and losing 2-0 in the return leg at Stamford Bridge.
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