Zlatan Ibrahimović is a 6'5" Swedish striker who has played for Malmo FF, Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Milan and PSG. He has scored incredible goals in every single one of these teams. We know this; Zlatan has told us about all it. He'd never be accused of shyness or subtlety, which rankles older, stodgier minds, but for this generation of fans, Zlatan is clearly the most awesome footballer in the game. 250 goals and 102 assists should be enough reason to justify claims of greatness, but he's so much more than goals and assists. Here are five other reasons one should worship at the Church of Zlatan:
1. John Carew
"Pointless" is defined as "Having little or no sense, use, or purpose." Synonyms include meaningless and senseless. John Carew, a Norwegian footballer, also 6'5", declared Zlatan's moves and tricks to be 'pointless'. Zlatan replied with "What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange." Carew responded by attempting to eat a football, ending his career. Well, it was either that or his utter lack of talent.
2. Blondes over brunettes
Some things in life we hold as self-evident: Taxes are to be paid or jail time will follow. We all will -- barring the completion of my immortality elixir -- die. Blondes have more fun. Through the centuries, philosophers have confirmed those as the three truths of life, and it therefore comes as no surprise that Zlatan is a blonde man himself. I mean sure, his wife being blonde might have something to do with his choice and maybe in some alternate Universe, a 5'6" depressingly modest Zlatan who was a success at Barcelona and whose parents called him Lionel would pick brunettes but thankfully we live in this universe.
3. Pep Guardiola and Barcelona
Although he wasn't hugely successful at Barcelona, it would be a stretch to say that Zlatan was a flop at the Camp Nou. After all, he was the scorer of a delicious goal that piled misery on Real Madrid in the El Clasico. But there was a disconnect between Ibrahimovic and the rest of the club. His attitude was a heavy contrast to the "schoolboy" demeanor of his former Barca teammates. There were (reportedly) many disputes over his role, he was apparently requested to abandon his spot as centre forward so that Messi could take up that position. It was not a good fit.
But only a man such as Zlatan would respond to his Catalonian setback by confronting Pep Guardiola, winner of numerous Champions League trophies and the golden son of football, and tell him that he had no balls and was afraid of Jose Mourinho in even less delicate words.
4. Rivals? What Rivals
The man has played for Juventus, Internazionale and Milan. For you Premier League fans, that's like playing for Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool and walking away both unscathed and entirely unperturbed. For La Liga fans, that's Real Madrid, Barcelona and...well, Atletico I guess? The fact is, the man is not the proper definition of "loyal" or a "one club man" but there's something amazing about a player that doesn't care one jot about the farcical importance that fans place on certain rivalries and loyalty.
Maybe we wouldn't really classify this as coming against a top international side but either this was genius, madness or magic. Probably all three: