With bwin generously offering money back on losing correct score bets if Ibrahimovic scores at any time in PSG’s Ligue 1 tie at Bordeaux we’re celebrating all things Zlatan.
Last year, the Swedish Language Council registered the verb ‘to zlatan’ as meaning to carry out an outrageously brilliant action and here are more ‘positive’ moments from the life of the greatest footballer Zlatan has ever known.
Zlatan the ultra-modest
Ibrahimovic called the lowly Faroe Islands players ‘a bunch of fisherman’ during their recent World Cup qualifier against Sweden and helpfully informed them of the salary they could expect to rake in if they made it to one of the big European clubs he has graced.
The joint-182nd ranked international team in the world may be interested to hear that in his youth Zlatan feared he wouldn’t make it in the game and almost gave up football for a career on the docks in his native Malmo.
Zlatan the durable
After signing his first contract with Malmo FF it needed a superhuman effort from Zlatan to keep his place at the club, with the parents of one of his fellow youth players petitioning to throw him out after an incident.
Looking back on that time the PSG forward admits that he was angry and should never have head-butted his teammate.
Zlatan the defender of the weak
After Marco Materazzi confronted Mario Balotelli when the former Man City forward reacted badly to abuse from his own fans in Inter Milan’s 3-1 win over Barcelona in 2010 the Swede, who had swapped Inter for the Camp Nou, came down on the side of his ex-striking partner in the press.
Ibra lambasted Materazzi and said he would have reacted ‘heavily’ if the Italian defender had treated him that way.
Zlatan the fundraiser
The Swede has generated over £120m in transfer fees for employers during his career and when Juventus were relegated to Serie B after being found guilty of match fixing in 2006, he had only the best for the club in mind.
Despite Bianconeri bosses thinking he ought to stay, the player and his agent moved heaven and earth to secure a €25m transfer to Inter, helping the struggling Old Lady find her feet again as he hopped off to Milan.
Zlatan the unforgettable
During a friendly between Sweden and Holland in 2004, Rafael van der Vaart claimed his then Ajax clubmate set out to deliberately injure him after Zlatan caught the midfielder on the ankle.
They never played with each other again as Zlatan was sold to Juventus by the end of the summer, but the former Spurs star paid homage to his old pal last year when testing out his new golf club on a picture of Zlatan.