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  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic’S Most Iconic Moments For Man Utd, AC Milan, LA Galaxy...

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s most iconic moments for Man Utd, AC Milan, LA Galaxy...

Widely regarded as one of the best strikers to grace the sport, Zlatan's unrivalled confidence and sharp wit have left fans with an abundance of memories, both off and on the pitch.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's behaviour off the pitch is almost as newsworthy as his goalscoring antics on it.

Whether it's his ability to score audacious goals or his outspoken views, Zlatan will go down in the history books (and certainly in his own mind) as one of the game's greats.

Acrobatic efforts, scathing remarks and an endless supply of trophies, Planet Sport takes a look at the fascinating and lengthy career of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

An iconic bicycle kick against England

In 2012, the Three Lions had already gotten the better of Zlatan and Sweden at the Euros. However, in November, the sides clashed again in a historic friendly at Sweden's newly-opened stadium, the Friends Arena.

With vengeance on his mind, and history there to be made, Zlatan typically stole the headlines.

Ibrahimovic's opener was the Stadium's first, and was a sign of things to come. A remarkable 30-yard free-kick earned him a hat-trick and moved him clear of Henrik Larsson on Sweden's all-time scoring list, before a memorable bicycle kick earned him his fourth goal of the night.

The then 31-year-old terrorised an inexperienced England team and a desperate clearance from Joe Hart gave Zlatan the opportunity to acrobatically lob the keeper from outside the area and leave fans in disbelief.

Furthermore, the iconic strike earned him the Puskas Award in 2013, an accolade that represents the best goal scored around the world in the calendar year.

Moulded into a serial winner

Away Kit
A staggering 31 trophies have been cradled by the sensational Swede and wherever he travels, success seems to follow.

Moving from Malmo to Ajax in 2001, Zlatan was rewarded with both an Eredivisie and KNVB Cup title in his first campaign in Amsterdam.

League success followed in Italy, Spain and France, including winning Serie A three years on the trot with Inter Milan, and Ligue 1 four times consecutively with PSG.

The coveted Champions League crown is the only major club trophy which eludes him. However, he did celebrate European success with Manchester United in 2017 when they beat his former club Ajax to win the Europa League.

Confronting Pep Guardiola

In 2009, Ibrahimovic was involved in one of the most famous soccer swap deals in history as a £57million deal saw him join Barcelona from Inter Milan with Samuel Eto'o heading in the opposite direction.

The move was meant to accelerate the Swede's career and in all fairness, he started relatively well - scoring 11 goals in his first 13 league appearances. However, behind the scenes the transfer was a recipe for disaster.

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola reportedly wanted rid of Eto'o due to his disruptive nature in the dressing room, which begs the question as to why the egotistical and outspoken Zlatan was his desired replacement.

Furthermore, the deal nearly collapsed after a fracture in his left hand was found during the medical. However it was not deemed serious enough to jeopardise the transfer and the warning signs were ignored.

Ibrahimovic clearly wasn't happy with the way he was utilised at the Catalan club and didn't refrain from expressing it in the media.

"You bought a Ferrari, but you drive it like a Fiat," is certainly one of his most renowned digs at Guardiola.

Becoming Paris Saint-Germain's all-time top scorer

Despite being in his thirties, Ibrahimovic was at the peak of his powers when he cemented his status as a Parisian idol.

On the back of scoring twice at Euro 2012, he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a three-year deal from AC Milan - locals hoped he would act as the linchpin for the French giants to return to past glories.

Before Zlatan's arrival they had claimed only their third top-two finish of the 21st century, but soon they were celebrating their first Ligue 1 triumph in 19 years.

He was top scorer in three of the four title-winning campaigns between 2013 and 2016, and developed a deadly striking partnership with Edinson Cavani.

Ibrahimovic struck 156 times for the Parisian side and although this has since been beaten by Cavani (200), scorpion kicks against Marseille and Bastia are just some of the mesmerising acrobatic efforts that are still cherished by the fans.

Zlatan's 500th career goal

One thing we have all learned about Zlatan is that he never goes about his business quietly, though instead of silencing opposition fans he instead got a rousing reception after his 500th career goal.

It came in 2018 as his LA Galaxy side trailed 3-0 to Toronto. In typical Zlation fashion, he managed to acrobatically flick the ball goalwards to become only the third player to score 500 career goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Zlatan's remarkable finish galvanised those around him and the game was soon levelled at 3-3. However, there was to be no fairy-tale ending after two late goals gave Toronto a 5-3 victory.

After the game the striker flirted with the press in true Zlatan style and his way with words once again got people talking.

A loss was of course the main cause for concern but he wasn't going to give up his own limelight that easily, adding: "I am happy for Toronto because they will be remembered as my 500th victim."

Three years on, the striker remains in red-hot form, this time for AC Milan. Fifteen goals for the Serie A runners-up secured him a contract extension which will take him past his 40th birthday.

Defying the odds

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims he isn't human, but instead a lion, we understandably take that with a pinch of salt.

But after displaying cat-like athleticism throughout his career, and recovering from career-ending injuries, perhaps he has a point after all.

Zlatan's days looked numbered after he suffered a torn ACL ligament against Anderlecht in the Europa League in March 2017. However, just seven months later, Ibrahimovic made his Manchester United return.

His time in Manchester would come to an end the following summer, though his profound admiration from the United faithful lives on.

Of course, following on from his English venture, Zlatan was a scintillating success in the US, and proved that the injury was simply another hurdle in his career.

Soon after the injury Ibrahimovic said, "So far I played with one leg so it shouldn't be any problem. One thing is for sure, I decide when it's time to stop and nothing else. Giving up is not an option. See you soon".

Home comforts

An icon across Europe, Zlatan Ibramhovic is a torch bearer for his home nation.

Few Swedes have dazzled like he has, so much so he has been awarded the Swedish Player of the Year (Guldbollen) on 12 separate occasions - 10 of which came consecutively between 2007 and 2016.

Even aged 39, Zlatan continues to lead the way and again laid his hands on the award in 2020.

He continues to shine at domestic level but his contribution to soccer in his own country is unmatched.

With 62 goals at international level, he sits 19 goals clear at the top of the Swedish scoring charts. He has scored goals at four different European Championships although he is still to register an elusive World Cup goal.

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