(born 2 October 1981 in Malmö) is a Swedish football
striker of Bosnian and Croatian
descent who plays for Italian Serie A club Internazionale and the Swedish
national team, Zlatan Ibrahimović's nickname is 'The Ibrahim'.
Ibrahimović's Bosnian father, Šefik, and Croatian mother, Julka, emigrated to
Sweden, where they first met. Ibrahimović grew up in Rosengård, a Malmö
neighbourhood known for its immigrant communities. He began playing football at
the age of 8, alternating between local junior clubs Malmö Anadolu BI and FBK
Balkan. While in his early teens, he was a regular in hometown club Malmö FF.
Ibrahimović successfully completed junior high school in the ninth grade, and
though he was admitted to Borgarskolan in Malmö, he soon dropped out of high
school to focus on his football career.
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Ibrahimović signed his first contract with his hometown club Malmö FF in
1996, and moved up to the senior side for the 1999 season of Allsvenskan,
Sweden's top-flight league. That season, Malmö finished 13th in the league and
were relegated to the second division, but returned to the top flight the next
season. Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger unsuccessfully tried to persuade Ibrahimović
to join, while AFC Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker also expressed interest in the
player after watching him in a training match against Norwegian side Moss F.K.
On March 22, 2001, a deal between Ajax and Malmö regarding Ibrahimović's
transfer to Amsterdam was announced, and in July, Ibrahimović officially joined
Ajax for €7.8 million.
Ibrahimović received little playing time under manager Co Adriaanse, but when
Adriaanse was sacked on November 29, 2001, new coach Ronald Koeman inserted
Ibrahimović into the starting lineup as Ajax won the 2001-02 Eredivisie title.
The next season, Ibrahimović scored twice in a 2-1 victory over perennial French
champions Olympique Lyonnais in his Champions League debut on September 17,
2002. He scored four CL goals overall as Ajax fell to A.C. Milan in the
quarterfinals. In his final season with Ajax, Ibrahimović scored a goal against
NAC Breda on August 22, 2004 that was eventually voted the goal of the year by
He netted only once in the '03-04 Champions League (against Celta Vigo on
October 22) as Ajax were eliminated in the group stage.
On August 18, 2004, Ibrahimović injured fellow Ajax teammate Rafael van der
Vaart during an international match against the Netherlands, which led to
accusations from van der Vaart that Ibrahimović had hurt him intentionally. This
led to Ibrahimović's sudden sale to Juventus F.C. on August 31.
|Date of birth
||October 3, 1981 (1981-10-03)
|Place of birth
||1.92 m (6 ft 3
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 15 March 2009.
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 15 March 2009.
* Appearances (Goals)
Ibrahimović moved from Ajax to Juventus for a €19 million transfer fee. He
was promptly inserted into the starting eleven due in part to top scorer David
Trézéguet's injury problems, and scored sixteen goals. Near the end of the
season, Juventus reportedly rejected a €70 million bid for him from Real Madrid,
which was later revealed to be a publicity stunt initiated by Ibrahimović's
agent, Mino Raiola, in order to increase his market value.
On November 14 2005, he was awarded the Guldbollen, a prize awarded to
the best Swedish footballer of the year.
The following season was poor compared to his first season, his role in
Juventus's attack changed, as he became less of a goalscorer and moved more to
the sidelines, taking much part in the build-up play, especially as a target
player, and his assist numbers increased. In the 05-06 season Juventus fans
often got frustrated with him due to his anonymous presence in certain games
such as the Champions League defeat to Arsenal. Juventus were stripped of their
last two Scudetti as part of the verdict from the Calciopoli scandal, and
were relegated to Serie B. The new staff tried to persuade Ibrahimović, and
other top players, to stay with Juventus, but the player and his agent were
adamant to move, with Raiola threatening legal action in order to extricate
Ibrahimović from his contract.
Ibrahimović signed a four-year contract with Internazionale for € 24.8
million on August 10, 2006. He
revealed that Inter was his favourite club after Juventus. He started his spell
at the club by scoring one goal and assisting another in a league match against
Ibrahimović played his hundredth Serie A match on September 16, 2007. He
scored two Champions League goals in the group stage against PSV Eindhoven on
October 2, which marked his first European goals since December 2005 and his
first goals overall in an Inter jersey, and finished with five goals in seven CL
matches. Against Parma in the final league matchday on May 18, 2008, he returned
from a chronic knee injury and scored both goals as Inter won 2-0, clinching
their third straight Scudetto. Inter boss Jose Mourinho has installed
complete belief in Ibrahimovic by claiming he is for him "the best player in the
world, ahead of Ronaldo".
On November 16, 2008, Ibrahimović said that he would not return to
Allsvenskan as an active player, but he would stay the rest of his active career
as a player abroad.
Ibrahimović debuted for Sweden in a goalless friendly match against the Faroe
Islands on January 31, 2001. His first competitive match was a 2002 FIFA World
Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on October 7. Ibrahimović was part of Sweden's
2002 World Cup finals squad who were eliminated in the round of 16 by Senegal.
Ibrahimović was a fixture in the starting lineup for Euro 2004, scoring a
penalty against Bulgaria and rounding off a fine performance against the solid
defense of Italy by scoring a late equaliser. However, he missed a penalty as
Sweden were sent home following a shootout loss to the Netherlands. He went
scoreless during the 2006 World Cup finals as Sweden were again snuffed out in
the round of 16, this time by Germany.
He was called up for a Euro 2008 qualifier against Liechtenstein on September
6, 2006, but two days before the match, he violated team curfew by leaving the
hotel with teammates Christian Wilhelmsson and Olof Mellberg and attending a
nightclub. Though neither of the players consumed any alcohol, they were
nonetheless all sent home by coach Lars Lagerbäck as punishment and did not take
part in the match. Mellberg and Wilhelmsson did not appeal the coach's decision,
but Ibrahimović felt that it was unjust and therefore refused to take part in
Sweden's next qualifiers against Iceland and Spain. He also skipped a friendly
against Egypt on February 7, 2007, but ended his self-imposed boycott a month
later, and returned for
Sweden's loss to Northern Ireland on March 28. He went scoreless in all twelve
qualifying matches; his one goal was disallowed for offside in a 3-0 loss to
Spain on November 17. On November 12, 2007, Ibrahimović was awarded the 2007
Swedish Golden Ball as the country's top player of the year.
Ibrahimović ended his international goal drought, which had lasted for over
two years, against Greece in Sweden's Euro 2008 opener on June 10, 2008, and the
next match against Spain four days later. He finished the tournament with the
two goals as Sweden were eliminated in the group stage.
- Eredivisie: 2001-02, 2003-04
- KNVB Cup: 2001-02
- Johan Cruijff-schaal: 2002-03
- Italian Serie A: 2006-07, 2007-08
- Italian Super Cup : 2006, 2008
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 2005, 2008
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2008
- Serie A Goal of the Year: 2008
- Guldbollen: 2005, 2007, 2008
- Jerringpriset (Sweden's Sports Personality of the Year): 2007
- Swedish Male Athlete of the Year: 2007
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2007
ee is da best player in da world!!!!
Zlatan "Ibra" Ibrahimovic is easily one of the
best soccer strikers around. Not only is he a giant on the field he
dances with the ball like a ballerina and his first touch control is
simply stunning to watch. He has been my favourite soccer player
since he played back in Ajax FC. He is still young and he can only
get better with time