Born on the 3rd of October 1981 in Malmo, Sweden, Zlatan Ibrahimovic surpassed the difficulties life threw at him at an early age as he was born to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother, whom migrated to Sweden and divorced at his tender age of 2. Growing up in the immigrant-populated district of Rosengard, by his account Ibrahimovic was a bicycle thief and a school bully but eventually grew to a tall and agile young boy with an obvious talent for soccer.
Ibrahimovic made his professional debut for Malmö FF in 1999, and helped the second-division club make the leap to the first level the following season. The 6’5″ striker then signed with the prominent Dutch club AFC Ajax and honed his formidable skills as part of two title-winning teams. Though he developed a reputation as a temperamental player, he has led his team to numerous titles most significantly the two Serie A championships where the team was however stripped of when the club management was charged with fixing matches in the infamous Calciopoli scandal. Ibrahimovic then forced a transfer to Inter Milan and continued with his successful career by winning three consecutive Serie A titles and also the league highest goal scorer award in 2009.
In a swap deal to Barcelona FC for Samuel Eto’o in 2009, Ibrahimovic played alongside some of the most talented footballers in the world which included Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta, in line with winning the league title he notched 22 goals, however he came loggerheads with Pep Guardiola then manager of Barcelona and this saw him spending the following season on loan to AC Milan, the move was made permanent the next season and Ibrahimovic claimed his second highest goal scorer award. Although his amazing streak of eight straight seasons on a title-winning club came to an end.
The striker moved to PSG in 2012 and proved he still had a lot to offer the game by claiming a third goal scorer award with a career-high 30 goals and leading the club to its first Ligue 1 title in 19 years.
Zlatan has been a hit on and off the field of play and here are the seven (7) most controversial quotes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- (Zlatan Ibrahimovic almost secured a move to arsenal when he was 17 at Swedish club Malmo, and the club even had a shirt made up with his name on the back. But Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager wanted him to do a trial): ZLATAN DOESN’T DO AUDITIONS
- When asked by a reporter of the perfect gift he will get for his wife: NOTHING. SHE ALREADY HAS ZLATAN. SHE HAS EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS.
- After his incredible skill displace against Stephane Henchoz, former Liverpool center back: FIRST I WENT LEFT, HE DID TOO, THEN I WENT RIGHT, AND HE DID TOO. THEN I WENT LEFT AGAIN AND HE WENT TO BUY A HOTDOG
- After scoring two goals to secure an away draw for Sweden in the Scandinavian derby, completing a 4-3 aggregate win to qualify for Euro 2016, Zlatan was quoted as saying:
DENMARK WANTED ME TO RETIRE, BUT I SENT THEIR WHOLE COUNTRY INTO RETIREMENT.
- After Messi won the Ballon d’or for the fourth straight year: CRISTIANO RONALDO IS A LUCKY GUY. HE ALWAYS GETS FRONT ROW TICKETS TO SEE LIONEL MESSI WIN HIS AWARDS
- After he moved to Paris Saint Germain, Zlantan was struggling to secure an apartment for him and his family: WE ARE LOOKING FOR AN APARTMENT IF WE DONT FIND ANYTHING, THEN I’LL PROBABLY JUST BUY THE HOTEL.
- ZLATAN CONSIDERS HIMSELF GOD. Before the famous world cup play-off, a reporter asked Zlatan
Reporter: Who will win the world cup play-off?
Zlatan: Only God knows
Reporter: It’s kinda hard to ask him now
Zlatan: Why? You’re looking at him now.
Currently retired from international football, Ibrahimovic 35, signed a one year contract with Manchester United FC in July 2016, re-uniting with former manager Jose Mourinho.
Zlatan is Manchester United top goal scorer in the premier league with 8 goal after the 14th week. The striker still believes he has a lot to offer in the game played by men as he still remains Zlatan, the soccer God.
Photo Credit: Michael Steele, Getty Images and AP