Ajaccio new boy Mutu throws down gauntlet to Ibra

28 August 2012 05:47

Adrian Mutu was presented to the media by modest French club Ajaccio on Tuesday and promptly vowed that he would score more goals this season than Paris Saint-Germain superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mutu, 33, joined from Italian Serie B side Cesena but counts Chelsea, Juventus, Inter Milan and Fiorentina among his former clubs, and he dismissed suggestions that his career was winding down.

"I'm not in pre-retirement," he protested after arriving at Ajaccio airport.

"What's more, I'm launching a challenge to Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- I'll score more goals than him between now and the end of the season."

Ibrahimovic already has a two-goal head-start on the Romanian and Mutu is likely to have to wait a few weeks to get going, as Ajaccio coach Alex Dupont believes he will not be able to make his debut until the game with Bordeaux on September 22.

Mutu's signing is a real coup for Ajaccio, who narrowly avoided relegation last season and have the third-smallest budget in Ligue 1, but the striker said it was not a haphazard choice.

"They're expecting me in France but I'm coming to Corsica, not France," he said.

"It's the south, a region that suits me and which, in its atmosphere and its culture, resembles Italy."

Ajaccio president Alain Orsoni, meanwhile, said that Mutu was one of the biggest signings in the club's history.

"It's a huge coup for the club and, without any doubt, the biggest player we've had in Corsica since (Netherlands international who starred for Bastia) Johnny Rep in 1978," he said.

Mutu has a reputation as a bad boy, having tested positive for cocaine while at Chelsea in 2004, which earned him a record 17-million-euro ($21.2 million) fine from world governing body FIFA.

He was also suspended for nine months after testing positive for banned substance sibutramine in 2010, and in August 2011 he was banned for life from the Romanian national team after an unauthorised night out prior to a friendly with San Marino.

On Tuesday, however, he insisted that his hell-raising days were over.

"My past and my reputation? I only want to talk about football," he said.

"I'm married and I'm the father of three children. I think that's an adequate response to my critics."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 16:17