Dare To Zlatan? Part IHe started his career in Sweden at Malmo FF in the late 1990’s before being signed by Ajax where he made a name for himself under the current manager of Southampton Ronald Koeman. He later signed with Juventus for a fee of 16 million, and gained fame in Serie A by benefiting from his strike partnership with David Trezequet. In 2006, Ibrahimovic signed for rivals Internazionale, where he won individual awards including Oscar del Calcio and the Swedish Guldbollen, and was named in the 2007 and 2009 UEFA Team of the Year, in addition to finishing as the league’s highest goal scorer in 2008-09 while winning three straight Scudetti. In the summer of 2009, he transferred to Barcelona however his time at Camp Nou was short-lived. He decided to move back to the Serie A with A.C. Milan the following season, in a deal which made him one of the highest paid footballers in the world and cost the Italian club 24 million. He signed with Paris Saint-Germain in the July of 2012. His style of play has been compared to the Dutch legend Marco Van Basten, Ibrahimovic is one of the best finishers in the game and is regarded to be one of the best footballers of his generation. His spectacular bicycle kick for Sweden against England won the 2013 FIFA Puskas Award for the goal of the year. In December 2013, Ibrahimovic was ranked by the The Guardian as the third-best player in the world. In December 2014, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter named Ibrahimovic the second-greatest Swedish sports-person of all time.
Zlatan's FactsFact No. 1: At the age of 15, Ibrahimović was close to quitting his football career, in favour of working at the docks in Malmö, but his manager convinced him to continue playing. His idol was Brazilian star Ronaldo when he was growing up. Fact No. 2: Met Friend and Team-Mate Maxwell on First Day in Amsterdam, Ibrahimovic had already agreed to move to Ajax from Malmo, but it was on his very first day in Amsterdam that he would meet 19-year-old Maxwell, and the two have been friends ever since. Both players were born in 1981, both now are in their 30s, they have played together at Ajax, Inter Milan, Barcelona and now at Paris Saint-Germain.
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Fact No. 3: The story behind the perfect goal. Just after the players celebrate, the camera cuts to Ajax midfielder, Rafael van der Vaart, sitting in the crowd, and he doesn’t look entirely pleased to see the Swede score the magnificent goal. Four days earlier, the Netherlands took on Sweden and moments before Ibrahimovic assisted a team-mate score for his country, he planted his foot on van der Vaart’s ankle, injuring the Dutchman, and started a feud that has lasted ever since. That is why the former Spurs midfielder doesn’t look entirely pleased when Ibrahimovic scores.
Fact No. 4: After joining Ajax from Malmo, Ibrahimovic didn’t enjoy the best of times in his first season. The then-Ajax coach, Co Adriaanse, didn’t play Ibra very often and the Swede struggled to find his feet in Amsterdam. In a 2013 interview with the BBC, the striker revealed that Southampton tried to take him on loan, and it was something that Ajax were interested in allowing. Fact No. 5: Zlatan Takes Embarrasment on the Chin. Looking a frustrated and isolated figure upfront, Ibrahimovic tried to chase down the Lille defence, looking to force a mistake and create something for his team. Then it happened, the forward came rushing in and Chedjou, with the slightest of touches, nudged the ball in between Zlatan’s legs. What is even more brilliant about that moment is Zlatan’s reaction. A beaming wide smile appears on his face, he knows he has been done, but there is complete respect for what Chedjou has accomplished. He dared to Zlatan, and he won, well sort of.
Fact No. 6: Ibrahimović was born in Sweden to a Bosnian Muslim father and a Croatian Catholic mother, who both immigrated to Sweden. Fact No. 7: Ibrahimović is fluent in Swedish, Bosnian, English, Spanish and Italian. Fact No. 8: Ibrahimović is the only player to have scored for six different clubs in the Champions League. Fact No. 9: Ibrahimović received an honorary black belt in taekwondo; he attended classes at the Malmö Taekwondo club Enighet as a child. Fact No. 10: He won a La Liga championship with F.C. Barcelona in 2009–10 and a Serie A championship with A.C. Milan in 2010–11. Special Fact: He loves kicking his team-mates!
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