There is no player that provides as much entertainment both on and off the pitch as PSG and Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. On the pitch he is a goalscoring machine and one of the most prolific strikers of his generation, combining grace, agility, power, guile and audacity to great effect. He has scored many stunning goals in his career so far, and you know you are in for an exciting game if Ibrahimovic is playing. Off the pitch, Zlatan is brimming with confidence and self belief, and so much so that he will often refer to himself in third person as “the Zlatan”, or even use his name as a verb where “to Zlatan” is to do something with extreme skill or talent or to dominate. His Twitter page and interviews are something to behold and attract as much attention as his on-field antics, as he almost comes across as a philosopher at times with some of his quotes.
He has a fantastic sense of humour to go along with the talent to back up his confidence, making him a star that is never far from the limelight and a fan favourite around the world, but also a player that polarises many. When the majority of athletes have as much self belief as Zlatan does, it will often see them lose more fans than gain any. This is not the case with Ibrahimovic, who has a personality that endears him to many. This makes Ibrahimovic one of the more intriguing athletes around the world, as few are as much of a showman as the Swede is. Despite his extraordinary footballing ability and entertaining nature, Ibrahimovic is often overlooked when talking about the world’s best despite winning numerous awards and individual accolades. Some would say this could be because of his, at times, rebellious persona and a few controversies over the years involving team-mates, managers and opponents. Nonetheless, the 33 year old has played and won at some of the biggest clubs in the world and continues to dazzle on the pitch and entertain off the pitch.
Here are 15 interesting facts about the charismatic PSG and Sweden forward.
15 He has a burger named after him in a French café
14 At 10 years old he was used as a second half sub and scored 8 goals
13 He has 2 sons with his long-term girlfriend
12 He gave all his PSG teammates personalized limited edition Xbox Ones
11 He has won Swedish Footballer of the Year 9 times
10 The gravel pitch he learnt on has been remade in his honour
9 He is heavily tattooed
8 He has a black-belt in Taekwondo
7 He's made many enemies
Although an incredible talent, Zlatan has had clashes with those around him everywhere he has played. This could be as a result of his arrogance, but also goes back to his troubled childhood where he exhibited a fiery temper which he struggles to contain at times.
6 There is a wax statue of him in a Parisian Museum
5 He was eligible to play for Bosnia and Croatia but chose Sweden
Ibrahimovic was born in Sweden to a Bosnian father and Croatian mother, with both parents immigrating to Sweden (where they would meet) when they were younger. This meant that he was eligible to play for Bosnia, Croatia and Sweden, but he would select Sweden as it was his birth country and where he grew up. He would make his international debut in a goalless draw in a friendly against the Faroe Islands in 2001, and would bag his first international goal in the same year in a World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.
4 He is a registered trademark and in the dictionary
3 He is the only player to have scored in the Champions League with 6 different clubs
2 He has the highest combined transfer fee total in football history at €171 million
1 He has won domestic league titles at every team since arriving at Ajax
Every club that Zlatan has played for since Malmo has lifted the league trophy at some point during his tenure; coincidence? Unlikely. Ibrahimovic has been lethal at every team he has played for, and although all good teams, he has played a huge role in helping them to succeed and top the table. Eleven league titles in 13 years, Zlatan has won two titles with Ajax, two with Juventus (although revoked due to the 2006 Italian Football Scandal), three with Inter Milan, one with Barcelona, one with A.C Milan and the last two with PSG. Few players in the history of the game can claim this much domestic dominance at multiple clubs. Perhaps a Premier League title will be next on his list?
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