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.
Game. Set. Zlatan.
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.
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.”
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:
Ever the model of modesty, Paris Saint-Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued his unrivaled track record of humility after PSG’s 2-1 win against Olympiakos.
It’s trophy season, and despite his awesomeness, Ibra isn’t expected to be a finalist for the Ballon d’Or. But that doesn’t matter to Zlatan, as seen in the video above.
Zlatan even managed to get a bit of a rib in on his contemporaries, saying:
No, it’s nothing that I think about. It seems very important for other players, but for me it’s not important. I know what I feel about myself and I know what I think about myself. … I don’t need a trophy to tell myself that I’m the best.
Boom! Another day, another slice of humble pie served up by Zlatan. You’ve got to love him.
Comments made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the rounds on Thursday, with the Swedish talisman denying reports he applauded Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable hat trick.
“Was I applauding Ronaldo? No, I was just trying to encourage my team-mates,” Ibrahimovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport, via the London Evening Standard.
"I clapped my hands to cheer them up and motivate them for the last few minutes.
Lucky for us, there’s video evidence to prove it:
This video shows Zlatan and Ronaldo’s reactions to their respective goals, and it’s quite telling. Considering you can see Ibra clapping his hands and encouraging teammates after CR7’s first and second goals, it seems the Swede’s side of the story holds water.
But there’s more to be seen in this video. It really should be enjoyed in its entirety, but some of our favorite moments:
Let’s hope these two match up again real soon, and more videos like this emerge.