Friday, March 16, 2012

Ibrahimovic: I'm Sick Of You

At first, the hard man attitude of Zlatan Ibrahimovic was alluring. A tough guy backing up his tough talk through gritty performances usually is. His prolific scoring record and affinity to win titles - currently nine in a row - speaks volumes about his talents as a footballer, regardless of an inflated ego. However, I'm getting sick of his over-the-top arrogance. As Ibra has gotten old, so has his antics on and off the field. Lets review some history:

Incredible efforts at Ajax garnered the attention of many leading clubs around Europe. Hilarious interviews after matches endeared fans to the tall Swede's tough, yet playful style:

The cool-talking Ibrahimovic was a delight at this point of his career. Seeing a player sensibly spar with a prying journalist is always enthralling.

At Juventus, Ibra rose to stardom. His flicks, tricks and flashy goals drew the attention of the world audience. Moreover, he arrived in a top league and immediately made an impact, scoring 16 goals while leading the Old Lady yet another title. Check out the scope of his dope skills during one of Nike's Joga Bonito clips prior to World Cup 2006:

That had to be Dubble Bubble! Ibra's tenure at Juve was cut short due to the Calciopoli scandals, which lead to his move to Inter.

In the Serie A post-Juve fallout, Inter was evil. They were essentially the Yankees of Calcio, scooping up every serious star in the wake of the scandals, one being Ibra. His dominance continued at Inter, winning three titles and securing Capocannoniere honors - top scorer in Serie A - in his final year.
Ibra silences San Siro boo boys and lets them know to shut up
Towards the end of his tenure at Inter, tempers began to flare. Though goals like these brought fans to their feet, but Ibra's inability to make an impact in games of importance angered fans. On this unsteady ground, Zlatan's hard man from Malmo act made matters much worse. As seen in the picture above, there were several instances where Zlatan threw dissent right back in their faces. No love was lost when the striker flew the coop for Barcelona in exchange for Eto'o.

Barcelona probably could have done without the services of Ibrahimovic. Even after a strong start, it was evident the striker did not fit into Pep Guardiola's system. After the fact, we have learned (through Ibra's biography) about severe problems Ibra had in the locker room. He seemed like the bad kid in school who always acted up in class. To him, Guardiola was not in control, while no one questioned Messi or Xavi. To Barca, he was polluting a good ecosystem. For a person with this sort of ego, I am sure authoritarian problems hit hard. The result: a summer move back to Italy with city rivals AC Milan.

Fortifying his complete lack of care for Inter, Ibra traded over to city rivals AC Milan a year after departing the Nerazzurri. In Italy, this is a serious dis to fans. This move dovetailed into the Swede's current over-the-top arrogance. He was always kind of a jerk, but while in Rossoneri, he has never failed to anger me. His track record:

Constant red cards jeopardized Milan's title winning efforts towards the end of last year.

Fighting to the death with American man-machine Oguchi Onyewu.

An infamous kick on a teammate during training:

Another kick, this time on Antonio Cassano, after winning the Scudetto:

well placed slap against a Napoli player last month put him in the doghouse.

A temper-tantrum post Champions League progression vs. Arsenal.

And most recently, a spat with a reporter resulted in Ibra asking her "What the F*ck are you looking at??" followed by a headband throw:

What is wrong with this guy? Have years of success made his ego boil over? Maybe it's because he looks like Zorro right now? I used to admire the hard man attitude, but as of late, it just seems excessive.

To conclude this rant, I offer you a hilarious video dissecting Ibrahimovic's attitude via the Barcelona tensions with Pep Guardiola:

Photo/Video Credits:


  1. Well written but I couldn't disagree more. I'm sick of players who seem to care more about their image, all we ever get from big players is PR cliches.

    Ibrahimovic seems so underrated simply because he refuses to play the media game. Yes he appears to have an unattractive ego, but I feel this is blown way out of proportion through the press.

    A few of his red cards have been very harsh, I mean come on, the 'slap' against Napoli was never a sending off.

    Think of what Milan were before Zlatan arrived, a stale team with no dynamism in the final third. They struggled to make the Champions League places. Zlatan was the main reason the team went from outsiders to front runners in the title race.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I honestly have liked Ibra throughout his career and agree with you on players being themselves rather than PR dream-boys, but I think Ibra has gotten really out of control with Milan. It's soured him as a person for me. Great player, don't get me wrong, but an ego I would never want to know.

      Sure he's done wonders for Milan, but at the same time I hear whispers of PSG...he's the same old hitman for hire. I just can't get past his "better than the world attitude" anymore. It seems most stories are of him being bullish and ridiculous in some way. Maybe he's always been this way and it had not been covered as much, but it's still troubling to see nonetheless.

      If he was on Roma though, I probably would NOT have written this haha.