He has played in the world’s biggest leagues. Spain, France, Italy. He has played for some of the most historic and iconic clubs in world football such as Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and both sides of Milan. Yet now at 31 it appears he is settled into finishing his career with Paris Saint-Germain of France.
It brings up the interesting question… will Zlatan Ibrahimovic ever play in England?
Many people have their own opinion about the long-haired martial arts expert from Sweden but of no genuine doubt is his class. His goalscoring record speaks for itself and the manner of some of his goals is simply breath-taking.
He has courted much criticism in the past on many wide ranging subjects. His attitudes toward the press, other players and his general arrogant demeanour. Not to mention his bizarre hobby of karate kicking team-mates for seemingly no apparent reason (we all have a mate like that, right? If you don’t…it’s you!)
But another criticism that has always been levelled at him is his form against English clubs, could this be the reason behind his so far avoidance of England in his career path?
This season has seen him in perhaps his richest ever form. If anything he has simply become more selfish and the result has been plainly apparent. Goals. His recent delightful headed finish against Germany for his national team took his current tally to 12 goals in 10 games for club and country this campaign.
This exert from his auto-biography surmises some of his experience with England in the past.
"Just as it has always been in England, I had the fans and the journalists against me, and there was a lot of talk in the build-up. ‘He never scores goals against English teams,' etc etc. On the eve of the match, I held a press conference and, despite everything, tried to be, more or less myself. 'Wait and see,'I said, more or less. 'We'll talk again after the game'."
And there is an element of truth in this; he has often underperformed against English sides. He only has a 16 per cent win ratio in fixtures with English opposition. He did however change some opinion with his performance at Euro 2012 when he helped claw Sweden back into the game that ended in glory for Theo Walcott.
So has Zlatan avoided England or vice-versa?
Martin O’Neill once called him the ‘most over-rated player in the world’ while Arsenal rejected him as a teenager, although this was obviously not based on his record against English teams.
Have English teams believed the hype surrounding this impressive striker and avoided him?
What do you think? Will Zlatan ever play in England?
image: © Russell C