Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish footballer who plays for Manchester United in England. He was the captain of the Swedish football team from 2010 until his retirement from international football in 2016. Ibrahimovic is well-known for his strength, precision, and stamina. He is one of the most prolific strikers in the world. He is the second most decorated active footballer of all time, having won 33 awards during his career. Beginning his career in the late 1990s, he quickly established himself as a key member of the Swedish national football team due to his exceptional talent and skills. He is one of just ten players to have appeared in more than 100 games for Sweden’s national team. He is Sweden’s all-time leading international goal scorer. He played in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups for his country, as well as multiple UEFA European Championships. He has won the Golden Ball award, Sweden’s top honor for a football player, an unprecedented 11 times. He was considered one of the top three footballers of this period by The Guardian in December 2013, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In December 2014, a renowned Swedish newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, rated him the second best Swedish sportsperson of all time, behind legendary tennis player Bjorn Borg.
Childhood and Adolescence
Sefik Ibrahimovic and Jurka Gravic, both Muslim Bosnian immigrants, gave birth to Zlatan Ibrahimovic on October 3, 1981 in Malmo, Sweden. The family was in dire straits and lacked even the most basic essentials. Even worse, Zlatan’s parents split when he was just two years old. However, the family managed to make enough money to provide Zlatan with a decent upbringing while he was growing up.
Zlatan began playing football at the age of six, after receiving a pair of football boots as a birthday present. That was in the late 1980s, and as Zlatan grew older, he continued to shape himself mentally and physically in the hopes of one day playing for his country. He was a bully in school and was involved in thefts, which he subsequently admitted to, claiming that he was obsessed with bicycles and would take them anytime he had the opportunity.
As a youth, Zlatan played for Malmo BI and FBK Balkan. He began playing for a local club, Malmo FF, when he was a teenager. However, no matter how talented he was at the sport, he couldn’t make enough money to support himself, so he stopped at the age of 15 to work at the docks. His boss pushed him to go even further, and the rest is history.
Career Opportunities on the Global Stage
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s skills quickly made him a rising domestic level player, earning him the opportunity to represent Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Herzegovina at the international level, but he chose Sweden. He made his international debut in a friendly match against the Faroe Islands in 2001, which finished in a tie. Later that year, he scored his first international goal in a 3-0 victory against Azerbaijan in a world cup qualifier match.
In the 2002 World Cup, Ibrahimovic was a member of the Swedish national team, which was eliminated early in the tournament. When Ibrahimovic scored three goals for Sweden in the UEFA European League 2004 Qualifier, he became a national football hero.
During the 2006 World Cup Qualifying campaign, he scored four goals to lead his country to a 7-0 victory against Malta. The world cup, however, was not a memorable event for the national squad, as Germany knocked Sweden out in the round of 16 of the tournament.
Ibrahimovic joined Internazionale in 2006, and his aggressive style of play earned him important honors such as the ‘Italian Oscar del Carcio’ and the ‘Swedish Guldbollen.’ In 2007 and 2009, his team was awarded UEFA team of the year. In a 2010 World Cup qualifier against Malta, he scored one goal and played a key part in Sweden’s victory. He maintained his form against Hungary, helping his team to a 2-1 victory.
Ibrahimovic was elected captain of his national team in the Euro 2012 qualifier, however despite a fantastic performance, his team was eliminated in the group round. His volley goal in a match against France was dubbed the ‘goal of the tournament,’ and he was named to the ‘Team of the Tournament.’
Ibrahimovic led his team to victory in the 2014 World Cup qualification tournament, scoring eight goals. His team was unable to qualify for the World Cup. Ibrahimovic scored his 50th international goal against Estonia in a friendly match in 2014. Ibrahimovic declared his retirement from international football in Sweden’s final match of the 2014 Euro qualification competition.
Career in the Club
Ibrahimovic joined Ajax in July 2001, marking the start of his big league career. He scored five goals in his first Champions League with Ajax in 2002, earning him the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ award later that year. Due to a controversy, his final season at Ajax was the 2004 Champions League. Following that, he joined Juventus.
While playing for Juventus, Ibrahimovic was unable to maintain his form, and his performance deteriorated, forcing him to move to Internazionale. The deal paid off for Ibrahimovic, who finished the 2008-2009 serie A season as the league’s top goal scorer with 25 individual goals. He was eventually recruited by Barcelona, and in his first 15 league matches for the Catalan club, he scored 11 goals and added eight assists. He later transferred to Milan and made his debut against Cesena in the Championship League in September 2010, scoring 13 goals and assisting eight times. He continued to change clubs until he signed with Manchester United in July 2016. He scored a total of 20 goals in his Premier League debut match. Ibrahimovic was awarded to the ‘Squad of the Season’ after winning his first major title in the Europa League in 2016.
Personal Experiences of Zlatan Ibrahimović
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has two boys with Helena Seger, with whom he has been in a long-term relationship. He currently resides in Manchester and owns a mansion in Malmo, Sweden, where he spends his vacations.
‘Becoming Zlatan,’ a documentary film, chronicles his life and sheds light on his turbulent history. The film was shown at a number of international film festivals.
Ibrahimovic removed his shirt during a league match in 2015 to expose a tattoo with the names of 50 individuals who perished from hunger in order to raise awareness about the famine. Other than his game, Ibrahimovic is known for his hatred towards media and is constantly in news due to his erratic behaviour. He’s also been arrested on few occasions for being violent on the pitch.
Estimated Net Worth
Zlatan Ibrahimović has a net worth of $190 million.