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Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Superstar or Super Farce?

With an honours list as long as his pony-tail and an ego almost as large as his nose, Zlatan Ibrahimovic splits opinions all over the football world. Probably the least Swedish-looking Swede I have ever laid eyes upon (his father is of Bosnian decent and his mother is Croatian), he is the ultimate 50:50 football player. Here are a few pros and cons of Paris Saint-Germain’s new arrival.

 The swagger of a champion with the trophies to back it up; The arrogant striker won 8 consecutive league titles with an impressive portfolio of European clubs including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and most recently AC Milan. Serie A’s top scorer in both the 2008/2009 season and 2011/12, the gobby striker has netted 189 competitive games in his career, with 28 of these coming in the 32 games he played for AC Milan last season. Whether you like Zlatan or not, read that back and tell me that he’s not a gifted player.

 It should be noted that the two titles he won with Juventus were eventually stripped due to match fixing allegations.

 Notably agile despite his 6ft5 frame, the Malmo-born man is also surprisingly quick and technically gifted with the ball at his feet, the way he inspires his team mates and the glimpses of pure magic that impresses global audiences are just a handful of reasons why Zlatan’s services have been required for the biggest clubs in Europe. His €20m summer move to Carlo Ancelotti’s PSG shoots him to the top of the most expensive players in combined transfer fees totalling around €180 (€80m of which came from the transfer to Ajax from his boyhood club Malmo FF). Ibrahimovic has won numerous individual awards throughout his 17 year career, his first being Serie A foreign player of the year in 2005, with the latest being named in the Euro 2012 Team of the Tournament. At 30 years of age Zlatan will be hoping for a few more accolades before he hangs up his size 13 boots.

 There is, however, another side to ‘Ibra’. He sometimes resembles a sulky teenager that has just been ordered to tidy his room, and once you get on the wrong side of him, don’t expect him to hold back. During an AC Milan training session, the giant Swede was involved serious scuffle with (then team mate) Oguchi Onyewu, which caused Zlatan to break one of his Onyewu’s ribs. He has also been critical in his autobiography ‘I am Zlatan’ towards Pep Guardiola, Ballon d’or winner Lionel Messi and World cup winner Xavi labelling them ‘schoolboys’.

 After some derogatory words from former Valencia, Lyon and Aston Villa striker John Carew, Ibrahimovic’s responce was:

 “What Carew can do with a football, I can do with an orange.”

 An ego to challenge Cristiano Ronaldo’s, Zlatan has even trademarked his own name! He applies this to a number of different products such as clothing, vehicles and even beer.

 For me, players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic are a win-win situation. If he plays as well as he thinks he is, then sit back and enjoy, because when on-form he can be one of the most exciting players in world-football. On the other hand, if he fails to produce (which he has been accused of on many occasions) then he has egg on his face and we can all enjoy a bit of finger pointing and a giggle.

 Zlatan’s comments about an opposition defender:

 “First I went left, he did too. Then I went right, and he did too. Then I went left again and he went to buy a hot-dog

Since writing this article, the Swede has gone on to score 7 in 5 for PSG

 Zlatan Ibrahimovic, superstar or super farce?