No matter whether he is on the pitch or off, you can be sure that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will entertain. The PSG and Sweden striker is an astonishing goalscorer on the pitch and he has scored dozens of jaw dropping goals over his career, which has seen him play at huge clubs such as Juventus, Inter Milan, A.C Milan, Barcelona and now PSG.
Off the pitch he has become famous for his incredible self belief and entertaining quotes, with the striker often referring to himself in 3rd person as “the Zlatan”. Whilst this level of confidence usually makes an individual not particularly popular, Ibrahimovic’s humour and sharp wit ensure that he is a fan favourite with many around the world. However, his attitude and a few controversial incidents have earned him several enemies, including opponents, managers and even his own team-mates.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a remarkable career for both club and country, and he is certainly one of the finest strikers of his generation. His dazzling ability on the pitch, and his humour and antics off the pitch ensure he is one of the most talked about and intriguing stars in the modern game and never far from the spotlight.
Here are 10 interesting facts about the PSG and Sweden talismanic striker.
He and his long term partner have 2 sons
At the age of 20, when he was playing for Ajax, Zlatan met and started a relationship with Helena Seger (a model/actress and former TV presenter). The 2 are still together today and have 2 sons together named Maximilian and Vincent. When asked what he got Helena for her birthday in an interview, Ibrahimovic famously replied “Nothing. She already has Zlatan”.
He helped rebuild the pitch he learnt on to encourage a new generation to play
Zlatan learned the game on an old gravel pitch near his mother’s house, and since turning professional he and Nike had the pitch completely remade with rubber ground and goals painted gold. It is now called “Zlatan Court”, and many of Sweden’s youth flock to this pitch to learn the game in the same place that Zlatan once did.
He has many tattoos
Zlatan is heavily inked and has a number of interesting designs. In addition to birthdates and names of his loved ones, he also has a large red dragon meant to symbolise his warrior like personality. He has a Koi fish on his shoulder, which is a fish that swims upstream and represents him going against the grain. He has the ace of hearts and clubs on his rib cage which represent good luck, as well as the Five Deva Faces Yantra, which is a Buddhist image of the elements that is believed to fight off illness.
He has a black-belt in Taekwondo
In his home town of Malmo, Ibrahimovic became a black-belt in Taekwondo when he was 17 years old. In addition to ensuring that nobody dares get in a fight with Zlatan, these abilities have also clearly helped his game. When you watch him play you will notice that he can pull off a range of acrobatic and overhead kicks despite his size, and this is thanks to his martial arts abilities. Most famously, Zlatan scored a breathtaking overhead kick against England a few years ago.
He could have played for Bosnia and Croatia but chose Sweden
Although born in Sweden, Zlatan also could have played for Bosnia or Croatia. He was born to a Bosnian father and Croatian mother, but they immigrated to Sweden where they would meet and have Zlatan. When a choice had to be made, Zlatan chose the country where he had been born and raised, and he has gone on to become their all-time leading scorer.
He was won Swedish Footballer of the Year 9 times
Ibrahimovic has been the face of Swedish football for many years, and his presence has made them a difficult match up for anyone. Despite this, they unfortunately were unable to qualify for the summer World Cup which was a great shame for many fans. In his career, Zlatan has picked up the Guldbollen (Swedish Footballer of the Year) a remarkable 9 times, including the last 8 consecutive awards. Freddie Ljunberg won in 2006 after Zlatan won his first Guldbollen in 2005.
He is in the dictionary
Ibrahimovic is certainly a fan of his own name, and he uses it so often that the term “to Zlatan” has been added to the Swedish national dictionary. This is widely used around the world and means to dominate something or do something with extreme talent and skill. In addition to this, “Zlatan” and Zlatan Ibrahimovic” have been trademarked by the man himself, meaning he has exclusive rights to the name for products.
He is the only player to score with 6 different clubs in the CL
Zlatan has played for some of the greatest clubs in the world, and he has proven what an incredible goalscorer he is by scoring in the Champions League in 6 different shirts. In Europe’s finest competition he has found the back of the net for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, A.C Milan and PSG, making him the only player to score in the competition with 6 different clubs. Despite this, Zlatan has yet to get his hands on the Champions League trophy.
He has the highest combined transfer fee in football history
Having moved around frequently and played for the top clubs in Europe, Zlatan has the highest combined transfer fee in football history. The fee totals a staggering €171 million, and is built up of his move from Malmo to Ajax for €7.8 m, Ajax to Juventus for €25 m, Juventus to Inter Milan for €24.8 m, Inter Milan to Barcelona for €69.5 m, Barcelona to A.C Milan for €24 m and lastly to PSG for €20 m. It also seems unlikely that PSG will be Zlatan’s final stop, so you can expect see him adding to this remarkable fee.
Since arriving at Ajax he has won domestic titles at every club he has played for
Zlatan has proven his abilities at every single club he has played for, and particularly in their domestic campaigns. Since joining Ajax, Zlatan has helped each team to a league title and he has won a remarkable 11 league titles in 13 years. Although all great clubs, this cannot be a coincidence and Zlatan has helped each team with his goal scoring ability. Many players struggle greatly when they change to a different league, but not Zlatan. There is 1 notable omission from his domestic trophy cabinet however, the Premier League trophy. Perhaps this will be the talented striker’s next stop.