'He always makes me smile' - Pardew keen for reunion with 'god-like' Ibrahimovic
Alan Pardew is relishing the prospect of coming up against “god-like” Zlatan Ibrahimovic when his Crystal Palace side take on Manchester United on Wednesday.
The Eagles are looking to extend their two-match unbeaten streak when they play host to Jose Mourinho's charges in the Premier League at Selhurst Park.
United, on the flip side, are aiming to close the gap on their rivals in the table by securing three points on their travels.
Ibrahimovic is expected to lead the line for the Red Devils and Pardew is keen to reunite with the marksman, 18 years after first meeting him in Sweden.
"Coming up against Zlatan is one thing I've not done in my career and I'm looking forward to it," said Pardew ahead of the game.
"I met him when he was 17 in Sweden. My wife is Swedish and her family all love him to bits. He's an icon there, almost god-like.
"He always makes me smile, and he makes me smile as a person because I think he plays in the right spirit.
"He probably doesn't remember but it was a social meeting and he carried himself well and spoke well, very professionally, even at a young age.
"Can you imagine him here, or at Newcastle or West Ham? They'd have loved him. He's an infectious person, he represents the game in the right manner, he's a great talent and he's scored some wonder goals".
Palace will need to improve defensively if they're to keep out Ibrahimovic on home soil, having conceded a whopping 12 goals in their last five league encounters.
"Obviously we need to tighten up," added Pardew. "Our 3-0 win against Southampton was the benchmark and we need to reproduce that against United.
"Our defenders have been here two or three years, no one is new, and they have done a brilliant job in the past.
"But defending is a team duty, everyone has a responsibility, including the substitutes.
"We have to find solutions and that's the hard part. It's easy to say what's right or wrong, we need to find solutions. We need to get back to how we performed against Southampton".