There is little doubt that Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the most talented players that the world of football has seen in the past few decades.
Not only was this exhibited throughout his 22-year career that recently came to a close, but the fact that he played for a host of top-tier teams is also a testament to his prowess while on the pitch.
Although individual accolades would take pages to describe, we can still appreciate his sheer talent by quickly examining his role within the clubs that he played for.
The roots of success
Ibrahimovic began his professional career with Malmo FF; arguably the most prestigious football club in Sweden. During his tenure from 1999 until 2001, he scored an impressive 16 goals out of a total of 40 on-pitch appearances.
This also caught the attention of rival teams such as Arsenal. In fact, Ibrahimovic was contacted by Arsene Wegner in an attempt to lure him to switch clubs.
It seems as if Ibrahimovic was not convinced, as he remained with Malmo until his departure to Amsterdam after a contract for a cool €8.7 million euros was confirmed. He would play for Ajax for another 74 games until 2004.
Inter and Barcelona
Ibrahimovic subsequently made a move to Inter Milan in 2006 for a four-year deal and he was the top Serie A scorer during his first season. While he achieved many impressive feats during this time, perhaps the most notable was being named as the top goal scorer for the 2008-2009 season.
Still, it can be argued that Zlatan is more remembered for his sting at Barcelona between 2009 and 2010. Although he scored the only goal for FCB during the Copa del Rey, it was no secret that he and head coach Pep Guardiola did not see eye to eye on numerous subjects.
This led to his original six-year contract being cut short. While BCN would not be the same without Ibrahimovic, they nonetheless went on to win several major events. It is also ironic to know that while talented, Ibrahimovic never actually won a UCL competition.
After prematurely departing from Barcelona, Zlatan would essentially hop from club to club throughout the remainder of his impressive career.
He played for AC Milan on loan before officially joining the team. He was moved between Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy before returning once again to AC Milan to end his professional football career.
Credit where it’s due
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the few players who have left an indelible impression upon the world of football. The passion he has for the game was clearly illustrated during a recent retirement speech and while he might not necessarily be associated with a single team, this matters little in terms of his sheer talent.
We can only hope that Zlatan will continue to make his presence known from the other side of the pitch.