Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish footballer who currently plays for Manchester United in England. He captained the Swedish football team from 2010 until his retirement from international play in 2016. Ibrahimovic, one of the most prolific attackers, is well*known for his strength, accuracy, and stamina. With 33 titles won during his football career, he is the second most decorated active footballer of all time. Beginning his career in the late 1990s, he quickly rose through the ranks of the Swedish national football team due to his exceptional talent and abilities. He is one of eleven players who have made more than 100 appearances for Sweden’s national team. He is Sweden’s all-time leading international goal scorer. He played for his country in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, as well as many UEFA European Championships. He has received Sweden’s top honour for a football player, the Golden Ball trophy, an unprecedented 11 times. In December 2013, The Guardian rated him one of the best three players of all time, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. In December 2014, he was rated the second greatest Swedish sportsperson of all time by Dagens Nyheter, a prominent Swedish newspaper; the first was famous tennis player Bjorn Borg.
Childhood and Adolescence
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born in Malmo, Sweden on October 3, 1981, to Muslim Bosnian immigrant parents, Sefik Ibrahimovic and Jurka Gravic. The family was impoverished and lacking basic basics. To make matters worse, Zlatan’s parents split when he was just two years old. However, the family managed to generate enough money to provide Zlatan with a good childhood when he was growing up.
Zlatan began playing football when he was six years old and was given a set of football boots for his birthday. That was in the late 1980s, and as Zlatan grew older, he continued to shape himself intellectually and physically with the goal of one day playing for his national team. He was a bully at school and was engaged in thefts, which he subsequently admitted to himself, claiming that he was obsessed with bicycles and would take them anytime he had the opportunity.
Zlatan began his career as a child with Malmo BI and FBK Balkan. He began playing for a local club, Malmo FF, when he was a teenager. However, no matter how excellent he was at the sport, he wasn’t making enough money to support himself, so he resigned when he was 15 to work at the docks. His boss pushed him to go further, and the rest is history.
Career Opportunities Abroad
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s abilities quickly elevated him to a rising domestic level player, earning him the opportunity to represent Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Croatia internationally, but he chose to represent Sweden. He made his international debut in a friendly match against the Faroe Islands in 2001, which finished in a tie. Later that year, in a world cup qualifier against Azerbaijan, he scored his first international goal, propelling his team to a 3-0 triumph.
Ibrahimovic was a member of Sweden’s national squad at the 2002 World Cup, when they were ousted in the first round. Ibrahimovic rose to national prominence after scoring three goals for Sweden in the UEFA European League 2004 Qualifier.
During the 2006 World Cup Qualifying campaign, he scored four goals to lead his side to a 7-0 victory against Malta. However, the national team’s experience in the World Cup was not noteworthy, as Germany knocked Sweden out of the competition in the round of 16.
Ibrahimovic joined Internazionale in 2006, where his aggressive play earned him major accolades such as the ‘Italian Oscar del Carcio’ and the ‘Swedish Guldbollen.’ In 2007 and 2009, his squad was awarded UEFA team of the year. In the 2010 World Cup qualifier, he played a key part in Sweden’s victory against Malta, scoring one goal. He continued his strong play against Hungary, leading his team to a 2-1 victory.
Ibrahimovic was appointed captain of his national team for the Euro 2012 qualifier, and despite a fantastic performance, his side was eliminated in the group round. The volley goal he scored 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 qualifying competition, scoring eight goals. His squad failed not qualify for the World Cup. Ibrahimovic scored his 50th international goal in a friendly match against Estonia in 2014. Ibrahimovic declared his retirement from international football after Sweden’s final match of the 2014 Euro qualification competition.
Ibrahimovic joined Ajax in July 2001, kicking off his big league career. He scored five goals in his debut Champions League for Ajax in 2002, and he later won the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ award in 2004. Due to a dispute, his final season at Ajax was in the 2004 Champions League. He later joined Juventus.
Ibrahimovic was unable to maintain his form and his performance decreased while playing for Juventus, forcing him to join Internazionale. The deal paid off for Ibrahimovic, who finished the 2008-2009 season as the league’s leading goal-scorer with 25 individual goals.
He was finally recruited by Barcelona, where he ended the 2009 Championship League with 11 goals and 8 assists in the first 15 league matches. He then went to Milan and made his debut against Cesena in the Championship League in September 2010, finishing with 13 goals and 8 assists.
He kept changing teams until he ended up at Manchester United in July 2016. He scored 20 goals throughout the competition, including his Premier League debut. Ibrahimovic earned his first major championship in the Europa League in 2016 and was nominated to the ‘Squad of the Season.’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has two boys with Helena Seger, with whom he has been in a long-term relationship. He presently resides in Manchester and has a mansion in Malmo, his homeland, where he spends his vacations.
‘Becoming Zlatan,’ a documentary film, examines his life and provides insight into his turbulent background. The film was shown at a number of international film festivals.
In order to raise awareness about starvation, Ibrahimovic lifted his shirt during a league match in 2015 to display a tattoo with the names of 50 individuals who perished from hunger.
Aside from his skill, Ibrahimovic is known for his dislike of the media and is frequently in the headlines owing to his unpredictable behaviour. He’s also been arrested several times for being aggressive on the pitch.