No one steals the spotlight from Zlatan. I’m sure there’s a quote like that hiding somewhere in the vaults of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. So while everyone was concentrated on David Beckham playing his last professional match, Ibrahimovic reminded everyone who is the best player for Paris Saint-Germain, and who is the main reason they won their first league title in 19 years. How? By scoring twice, including one of the best free kick goals you’ll see all season.
That made it 27 goals in 32 matches for Ibrahimovic since making that surprise transfer from Milan last summer. Sure, there were plenty of expensive arrivals amassed around him over the last couple of seasons, making it a little bit easier to finally break the drought over the French capital’s team for nearly 20 years. But Ibrahimovic wasn’t there last season, when the spending spree began. He was the difference 12 months later, being the only player on the team to score in double figures.
If you include the two titles the Italians took away from Juventus (2005, 2006), and both Juventus and Ibrahimovic consider that theft, that makes it 10 league titles in 13 years for the best striker in the world, winning with Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan and now PSG.
The question is – is this just another stop on the Ibrahimovic tour? A personality bigger than life, Ibrahimovic forces the teams just by his presence to build around him. It worked everywhere, up to a point. The Champions League has always been a problem, a thorn in his side. This season, it was once against Barcelona, a sluggish one to be sure, that knocked out his team in the quarterfinals. To be fair, it shouldn’t have been that close – PSG enjoyed an offside goal and a penalty that never happened in the first leg, and they still couldn’t come through.
What’s next? Some say Juventus are his next stop. The team needs a striker, badly, and Ibrahimvoic owes them a favor by bailing on them when the team was relegated to Serie B in 2006. I’m not sure how true the rumors are. No one can pay Ibrahimovic the kind of money PSG are paying him, and they offer him the same kind of potential glory all big clubs in Europe do. PSG, as long as the managerial and directorial structure stays the same, not to mention the flow of money, are going to be competitors for the Champions League title for quite some time, even with the Zlatan “curse” attached to them.
He might not be the best player in the world, but he’s certainly the most interesting out of those included in the “world class” category. Never shy of speaking his mind in an interview or to a teammate, Ibrahimovic has the kind of “bigger than life” personality that wouldn’t have been looked so kindly at, but luckily, he’s a one-of-a-kind footballer, who doesn’t seem to be fading away in his ability to dominate on the pitch and keep on scoring in impressive numbers despite being on the wrong side of 30.