Winning Titles is Simple: Sign Ibrahimovic

by Sam Wheatley

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes in for some awful stick on these shores. Whenever we see him play in the Champions League, we’re very quick to label him ‘useless’, claim that he ‘did nothing’ in the 90 minutes that preceded despite all of the hype that surrounds him. We’re not being fair on the big Swedish striker, because for all of his seeming disinterest in European games against English teams, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the greatest talisman in world football.

Ibrahimovic has finished first in the league with every team that he has played for during the last seven seasons – he would have seven titles in seven years had it not been for Caliopoli that meant his 2005/06 Serie A winner’s medal with Juventus was recinded due to their part in the scandal. The point is this, though; if you want to win the league, get Zlatan on board.

It could be argued that his arrivals at Juventus, Inter and Barcelona coincided with spells of domestic dominance for those sides. You could be right, but as we’ve seen in England, back-to-back titles are a big ask. Ibrahimovic chips in with his share of goals, assists and most importantly a winning mentality. He isn’t the forlorn figure we all think we see when he’s awful against Liverpool or Chelsea – he is a committed and dedicated winner.

So when he flicked the ball up before crashing an overhead kick into the corner of the net against Fiorentina, I wasn’t surprised by his grace or technical skill (no-one should be really). Nor was I surprised to see a Milan team that is getting on in years sitting atop the Serie A on a four point cushion (now three points after Sunday’s round of games). Ibrahimovic demands excellence from himself and his team-mates, and Milan’s squad is a set of experienced professionals that can both quell and self-delusions Ibrahimovic may be sporting (all too evident when he plays for Sweden), and support his desire for victory.

Milan have had a good history squeezing a little bit more out of troubled figures and football elderly. Ronaldinho settled into some decent form last season and even perennial Man City want-away Robinho seems settled there. Ibrahimovic wasn’t awful at Barcelona, but he didn’t fit their system. He scored sixteen goals and laid on eight more during a campaign in which he was in and out of the team. He did of course pick up a league winners’ medal in a league less open than Guantanamo Bay.

For all of the infighting at Manchetser City, they could do worse than sign Ibrahimovic. One of Mancini’s former charges at Internazionale, Ibrahimovic would teach whinging pretenders such as Adebayor that you are within your rights to complain as long as you are delivering yourself. The spell is more than the myth of the man.

People that have met Ibrahimovic say that the many is in fact immensely likeable and confident man. His record speaks for itself; his goals in big games this season against local rivals Inter (who are incidentally awful under Benitez) and Fiorentina are testimony to his character, as is the vigour with which he celebrated the latter, pumping his fist so hard that he required medical attention.

It would be nice to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic to lead Milan to glory this season, if not only to maintain his fantastic personal winner’s record, then to add one more to the personal trophy cabinets of Messrs Nesta, Oddo, Zambrotta, Ambrosini and Inzaghi, who can’t have too long left in the game. That is, unless Milan make his signing permanent at the end of the season. Only time will tell when the Ibrahimovic spell will be broken.

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  • Alex

    I can see your point, and agree that Ibrahimovic is a hugely gifted and talented player, capable of many things…capable.

    ‘Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the greatest talisman in world football.’

    That is a very bold statement. Samuel Eto’o would have something to say about that. Ibra has certainly got the medals, but Eto’o has been the primary goalscorer and leader of TWO treble winning teams. Zlatan has in comparison, been a part of some great teams….

    I take your point, and agree for the most part. I just think you can’t not include Eto’o in such a bracket.

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