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Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Birthdate: N/A
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1 Senior club appearances and goalscounted for the domestic league only andcorrect as of 17:49, 3 October 2007 (UTC).2 National team caps and goals correctas of April 22, 2007.* Appearances (Goals)

Zlatan Ibrahimović (IPA: , Bosnian pronunciation; born October 3, 1981) is a Swedish football player of Bosniak and Croatian descent. He plays as a striker. He currently plays for Inter Milan, in Italy, and for the Sweden national football team.

On August 18, 2004, Ibrahimović injured fellow Ajax teammate Rafael van der Vaart during an international match against the Netherlands, which led to accusations from van der Vaart that Ibrahimović had hurt him intentionally. This led to Ibrahimović's sudden sale to Juventus F.C. on August 31, 2004.

Near the end of the Serie A season Juve reportedly rejected a €70 million bid for him from Spanish power Real Madrid. This later proved to be nothing more than a PR stunt initiated by Ibrahimović's agent in order to raise his market value. Nonetheless, he was voted the player of the season in 2004-05 by the fans of Juventus. Zlatan was nominated to the 2005 FIFA world player of the year along with thirty other top players and finished as number eight. On November 14, 2005, he was awarded Guldbollen, a prize given to the best Swedish footballer of the year.

Even though he played well, arguably the best football he had produced so far, criticism against the lack of goals started to increase. And in spring, when Ibrahimović lost most of his fine form in the game outside the penalty area as well, criticism rose to a thunderstorm, both in Italy, where fans and journalists preferred Juve icon Alessandro del Piero, often sidelined for Ibrahimović's benefit, and in Sweden. Even so, he retained his place in the starting eleven and Juventus eventually won the Serie A again. Ibrahimović was also considered arrogant and troublesome, especially in Sweden where these feelings were strengthened due to several incidents between Zlatan and Swedish media.

Ibrahimović was a regular starter for Sweden in the campaign for Euro 2004, and after a fine season in Ajax he was well prepared for Euro 2004 in Portugal. He joined a fine Swedish team featuring Celtic star Henrik Larsson and Arsenal winger Fredrik Ljungberg. Ibrahimović did well, scoring a penalty goal against Bulgaria and rounding off a fine performance against the solid defense of Italy by scoring an amazing late equaliser. He jumped up in the air with his back to goal and kicked the ball one-and-a-half meters above the ground with his back heel into Buffon's top corner. Ibrahimović is well known for his agility and his ability to score goals with his feet high up in the air, and perhaps this stems from the fact that he practiced tae kwon do as a youth. The tournament ended, though, with Sweden losing to Holland on penalties in the quarterfinals. Zlatan was one of the Swedes who missed a penalty.

Ibrahimović contributed heavily to Sweden's successful attempt to qualify to the 2006 World Cup. Both Sweden and Ibrahimović were thought to under-achieve in the tournament, though. He was substituted at half time in one game, against Paraguay, and did not participate in another, against England, due to a groin injury. How much his performances in the other games were affected by this is hard to know. Sweden was knocked out in the 2nd round by Germany.


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