Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most fascinating and headline making personalities in football – the towering Swede is never found lacking of confidence, can you blame him with the records he holds? A magical footballer at his best who has perhaps suffered for his persistence in jet-setting between what seems like every club under the sun, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a unique individual, football aside he is a character that the game would be worse off without – then add his style and magnificent footballing quality to that and we have quite a character.
Whether it be his galactic skill or goal scoring heroics, ‘Ibra’ is renowned for more than his football – as with any iconic personality – this can leave him splitting opinions with confidence greater than imaginable and ever more so controversial quips on anything that takes Paris Saint Germain striker’s fancy. His season with PSG and Sweden has been pretty magnificent even by his own world beating standards, strongly justifying his inclusion on the Ballon D’or shortlist with more goals for Sweden as the failed to make the world cup in a play-off defeat to a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal. Having been mistakenly under rated by many in the UK, Zlatan showed the player that many have been expecting to flash into the English game with a match winning master class in a home friendly against England last year – tormenting an English defence and single handedly winning the game for Sweden, is there a better striker than him in the world?
He has it all, a claim for the Ballon d’Or may well be far from the mark – but putting that down to his on field activities wouldn’t be fair, personality will play a part and he’s not the most popular around the game – having played across mainland Europe and now finding himself striding Ligue 1 like a colossus having lead the line to hand Ancelotti’s PSG the French title in 2013. His play is complete, drops off to feature as a 10 at times, back to goal, distance shooting, headers, volleys, tap ins, link up play, holding the ball up, Zlatan is the most complete centre forward in the world – only rivalled by Robert Lewandowski on his all round game. After a year like his, ‘Ibra’ should be far further up the pecking order for the Ballon D’or, a better and more influential player than Ribery and if looking at the award with true pragmatism – Lionel Messi hardly qualifies to be contesting on his performances in the twelve months.
Not only the flooding of middle-eastern money into Parisian football, but the stature of the players that have arrived have given Ligue 1 another level of prestige that they have lacked for some time. Ibrahimovic’s arrival was one of the most poignant in this, along with former AC Milan team mate Thiago Silva they have significantly increased the status of both PSG and Ligue 1, followed by the phenomena of AS Monaco’s investment in bringing in Radamel Falcao and PSG’s further signings of Edison Cavani amongst others – Ligue 1 holds some of the best players in the world right now and in this 6 foot 5 inch Swede they have a real contender for the Ballon d’Or who has been restricted on his chance by his flamboyant and arrogantly blessed personality.