Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a swedish professional footballer who plays as a striker for French side Paris Saint-Germain and the Sweden national team for which he is captain.
Ibrahimovic began playing at the age of six, when he received a pair of football boots, switching between two local junior clubs, FBK Balkan and Malmo BI. At a very young age, he became a regular for his hometown club Malmo FF. At 15, Ibrahimovic was very close to quitting his football career, to go work at the docks in Malmo. But his manager convinced him not to quit and continue playing. Ibrahimovic idolizes Brazilian star Ronaldo Delima when growing up.
Ibrahimovic signed his first contract in 1996 with Malmo and was called up to the senior team in the 1999 season of Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top flight league. That season, Malmo finished 13th in the league and were relegated to the second division, but returned to the top flight the following season. Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger couldn’t successfully persuade Ibrahimovic to join Arsenal, while Leo Beenhakker also showed his interest in the player after seeing him play in a friendly match against a Norwegian side Moss FK.
A deal was sealed between Malmo and Ajax on 22 March 2001, and in July, Ibrahimovic officially joined Ajax for a fee of €8.7 million (80 million Swedish Kronor)
Ibrahimovic couldn’t get much game time under manager Co Adriaanse, but when Ajax sacked Adriaanse on 29 November 2001, newly elected coach Ronald Koeman placed Ibrahimovic in the starting XI as Ajax won the 2001/02 Eredivisie title. Ibrahimovic’s profile rose when he scored a goal against NAC Breda on 22 August 2004 and was eventually voted as the “Goal of the Year” by Eurosport viewers. On 18 August 2004, Ibrahimovic injured Ajax teammate Rafael van der Vaart, during an international match against the Netherlands. Rafael van der Vaart latwr accused Ibrahimovic of hurting him intentionally. This lead to Ibrahimovic’s suddem transfer to Juventus on 31 August.
Ibrahimovic completed a €16 million move from Ajax to Juventus. He was immediately inserted into the starting XI due in part to top scorer Dabid Trezeguet’s injury problems and went on to score sixteen goals. Towards 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 Ibrahimovic’s agent, Mino Raiola, in order to increase his market value.
After the Calciopoli scandal which saw Juventus being stripped of their last two Scudetti and relegated to serie B, Ibrahimovic completed a €24.8 million move to Inter Milan, signing a 4-year deal with the Nerazzuri. After spending three years with the Nerazzuri, Ibrahimovic completed a move to Barcelona for £59 million in a deal that also saw Samuel Eto’o move to Inter Milan. Barcelona announced Ibrahimovic would arrive on 26 July 2009 and undergo a medical test on 27 July 2009.
Ibrahimovic went on to play for A.C. Milan before joining Paris Saint-Germain. On 17 July 2012, Paris Saint-Germain confirmed that they had reached an agreement to acquire the sporting and economic rights of Ibrahimovic from A.C. Milan, for an initial fee of around €20 million, making Ibrahimovic the most expensive footballer in combined transfer fees.
Ibrahimovic is one of the ten players to have made 100 or more appearance for the Swedish national team. He is the country’s leading goal scorer with 62 goals. He represented Sweden at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008, and 2012 UEFA European Championships. He has been awarded Guldbollen, given to the Swedish player of the year, a record of 10 times, including nine consecutive times from 2007 and 2015.