Doha - Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants Jose Mourinho to still be in charge of Chelsea when Paris Saint-Germain play the English club in the Champions League next year, he told a small group of journalists including AFP on Thursday.
The Swede added that he was surprised at seeing his former coach in such trouble - Chelsea have lost nine games, are 16th in the Premier League and there is speculation Mourinho is about to be sacked - but insisted that would not make PSG favourites when the two sides meet next February and March.
"To play against Chelsea is not an easy game, even if they are struggling a little bit in their own competition," he said.
"We have respect for Chelsea and we do not underestimate Chelsea. They have great players and that experience from the Champions League from before and they have a good coach.
"I have to be honest, I haven't seen Mourinho in this situation where he's struggling," he added. "Normally... I am used to see him battling for the first and second place, so this is something new."
Asked if the Portuguese would still be in charge for the last 16 Champions League clash, he replied: "I don't really know how the situation is.
"I think it depends on the big boss, (Roman) Abramovich, what he wants. But I hope for Chelsea that he stays because we want to play against the best."
The difference with PSG, 17 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 while Chelsea are only one point above the Premier League drop zone - is marked, but Ibrahimovic said that would not matter.
"The game doesn't have any favourite because we played two times before, I see that both teams as equal."
Ibrahimovic played under Mourinho at Inter Milan in 2008/09.
In a wide-ranging interview ahead of the French side's winter trip to Qatar where they will play his old team Inter in a friendly, Ibrahimovic also hinted that next summer's European Championships would be his last international tournament and insisted he did not know where he would be playing next season.
The 34-year-old, who helped PSG into the quarter-finals of the French League Cup on Wednesday, was less clear on his own future.
His Paris contract runs out in June and said he was uncertain where he would play next year.
"In my thoughts now I don't have any destination," he said.
"This is a new situation for me.
"Normally, I have a contract for years and then change club but this is something different. My contract ends and then you are free to do whatever you want, so something totally new for me."
Asked if he would extend his international career beyond next summer, Ibrahimovic told AFP: "When it comes to the national team, I have the Europeans. I am happy we have reached the European Championships and I will be playing and I will enjoy it.
"What happens after, I don't know. If I will be playing the qualification for Russia, I don't know. That is too far, too soon to answer."
The Swede also backed the controversial Qatar World Cup in 2022.
"I feel and I think it will be an amazing thing," he said. "This is something I don't want to miss."