Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been wow-ing us all season long, that’s nothing new. Seemingly every weekend he provides us with a goal worthy of the yearly highlight reel.
But did you know Ligue 1’s top scorer — 23 goals and counting — also leads the league in assists this season with 12? Yeah, he can do it all.
Proving that his brilliance knows no bounds, Zlatan showed off his other skill set with a lovely back-heel pass to Ezequiel Lavezzi during PSG’s 3-0 win over Bastia on Saturday.
Blaise Matuidi scored a ridiculous goal for France in their friendly against the Netherlands yesterday. The entire soccer world took notice, and for good reason.
The best way to describe it is a no-look spinning scissor kick, but it’s better if you just watch it:
The stunning strike even caught the attention of PSG teammate and soccer god Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official)March 6, 2014
Only Zlatan can get away with talking in third person while complimenting another player. Because Zlatan does what Zlatan wants.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more golazos in the past 12 months than most players — mortals — achieve in their lifetime. Or in their dreams. So when it comes to practice, you can understand if Zlatan gets bored pretty easily during shooting drills. Like, what’s the challenge? There isn’t one. Unless you dare to Zlatan, and try to score with different body parts.
Still, not even that seems to be a problem for Zlatan. Ibra is clearly just as lethal with his kneecaps as with his feet.
Man, we’re sure going to miss him in Brazil.
You can always count on Zlatan Ibrahimovic to try something completely outrageous AND have it work out. The looping one-time goal he scored today for PSG is a perfect example.
When Zlatan plays, anything is possible.
Swedish car makers Volvo booked Zlatan Ibrahimovic to star in a new TV commercial with the campaign slogan “Made in Sweden.” As Sweden’s favorite son, Zlatan was the obvious choice here, and he doesn’t disappoint.
In the 2-minute long ad, Zlatan hunts deer, jumps in an icy pond, and at times reminds you of the Rocky workout montage in the Russian winter. The only thing Zlatan doesn’t do here is the song, but who really knows. Would you be surprised if he sings like an angel?
We just wish we could understand what Zlatan was saying the whole time. From what we gather, everything he loves — the wild, his family, himself, the Volvo? — is Swedish.
2013 Ballon d’Or
A conference call with Zlatan Ibrahimovic – eccentric Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden striker, professional brooder, devout worshipper at the altar of Zlatan, serial third-person referrer of self, mass-winner of league championships, and delightful provocateur – is an experience.
We had one such opportunity on Friday, so here, free of framing, editing or diluting, the best things he said in his deep, ear-ringing voice during the half-hour call.
On the Ballon D’Or, for which he wasn’t nominated as a finalist:
“I’m the best, boy.”
On coming to Major League Soccer:
“I’m not nominated for the Golden Ball so, I don’t know, maybe in America nobody knows who I am there. So maybe I should come over and play some seasons so people get to know me.”
On his favorite player to watch:
“My favorite player all time is Ronaldo The Phenomeno, of course, but he’s not active today. Eeehhh… As you play every day, train every day… pffff… play games almost every three days it’s not easy to watch even football when you come home. I have two kids to take care of and other interesting things I’m doing in my life, other hobbies, so it’s not like football 24 hours. I like to see big games and that’s it. Finals of tournaments and these kind of games that is exciting to watch but I’m not the one that like to watch a lot of football.”
On what it would take for a player of his stature in his prime to come to America:
“I can only speak for myself. It could be interesting to go over to America and try the football there but today it’s not interesting.”
On continuing to improve into his 30s:
“I’m like the wine. The older the wine is the better it is. So the older I get, the better I get.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a world-class player, no doubt about it. But nobody is flawless, and PSG’s Swedish talisman has face blessed with quite a bit of “character.”
His rather pronounced nose has always been a sticking point for those looking to rib the striker. Take Portuguese newspaper Abola, before Sweden’s World Cup qualifier against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, for example:
Or the always colorful Joey Barton during a Ligue 1 match against Olympique Marseille last season:
We’re sure Zlatan is aware of his beak, so we find it a little curious that PSG teammate Ezequiel Lavezzi felt the need to give the nose a honk over the weekend.
As you can see in the video, while celebrating a successful Ibra penalty, Lavezzi was compelled to squeeze Zlatan’s nose. Lavezzi finds it hilarious, but Ibrahimovic certainly didn’t seem pleased.
Maybe it’s a one-time thing, or maybe it will develop into a recurring theme, ala Adrian Beltre’s sensitive cranium.
Miroslav Stoch won last year’s Puskas Award (Image: Getty)
On the same day FIFA released the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or (shocker, it’s Messi, Ronaldo and Ribery), the final three candidates for the esteemed Puskas Award were also announced. Annually given to the player who scored the year’s best goal, the original group of ten candidates has been narrowed down to golazos by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Neymar and Nemanja Matic.
Whereas the Ballon d’Or is voted on by a select group of journalists as well as national team managers and captains, the Puskas Award is determined entirely by you, the fans. Another public vote on the day of the Ballon d’Or awards, January 13th, will decide the winner. You can find instructions on how to vote on FIFA’s website.
Here are the finalists: