Who Is Zlatan Ibrahimović And Why Did Jose Mourinho Bring Him To Manchester United?

Posted: August 16, 2016 in European Football, Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Despite his name Zlatan Ibrahimović is Swedish. His father was from Bijeljina in Bosnia and his mother from Prkos in Croatia. They met, however, in Sweden after both emigrating there a few years earlier.

When Zlatan was six they gave him a pair of football boots and, apart from a short time when he was fifteen, he has never looked back!

Fast forward to 1996 when he joined Malmo and stayed with them until 2001, experiencing relegation, promotion and little else, although it was during his time there that Arsene Wenger tried, unsuccessfully, to sign him for Arsenal.

In 2001 he joined Ajax of Amsterdam for a fee of €8.7 million. He wasn’t to feature much for the first team until Ronald Koeman came in as manager replacing Co Adriaanse, who was sacked for the usual reasons. Ajax went on to win the Eredivisie title.

In the following season, Ibrahimović scored twice on his Champion’s League debut and went on to score five in total in the competition before being knocked out in the quarter final.

He was then sold to Juventus after being accused of deliberately injuring Rafael van der Vaart while playing for Sweden against the Netherlands. This was in 2004 and his fee had now risen to €16 million. His time at Juve was remembered more for them being stripped of their last two titles and relegated to Serie B thanks to their involvement with match fixing. Immediately following this he moved to Inter Milan.

The fee had risen again, this time to €24.8 million and Zlatan claimed that he was a supporter of Inter as a boy. In his first season he was top scorer and Inter won the Scudetto. They won it again the following year and he was voted “Serie A Player of the Year” and “Serie A Foreign Player of the Year”. The following year he did exactly the same on all counts.

In 2009 Ibrahimovic moved to Barcelona in an exchange deal with Samuel Eto’o. At the time many people thought that Juventus were getting the better deal as they were receiving a reported €70 million as well as Eto’o.

Zlatan wasn’t bothered though and he didn’t have to wait long for his first La Liga win as it was accomplished in 2010. Shortly afterwards, however, Ibrahimović claimed that his relationship with Pep Guardiola had broken down and the coach wasn’t speaking to him.

So it was off on his travels again, this time to AC Milan in 2011. By the end of the 2011/2012 season he had won another Scudetto and finished as the top scorer in Serie A.

Now it was time to move on again and this time he chose Paris as his next destination. For a fee of €20 million he joined PSG, making him the most expensive footballer in history when the fees are combined! His time in France was hardly the most challenging of his career as he regularly top scored for PSG and won Ligue 1 in every season he was there. Possibly because of the lack of competition he decided not to renew his contract and, when it expired in 2016, he joined Manchester United on a free transfer.

He is to be congratulated on this decision as he could have stayed for an easy life in France, or gone for an even easier one in either China or the USA. He decided that England was the place to be and once that decision was made there was only one club to join.

He is now under contract to Manchester United for one year but this can be extended providing both he and the club are in agreement. The way he has started he could go on playing for another three or four years.

So, was Jose right to sign him? Absolutely, as Dwight Yorke would say every couple of seconds. With no fee involved this is basically a free shot at whether or not he can cut it in the Premier League and, from the evidence thus far, he can.


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