Zlatan Ibrahimovic: A bona fide soccer gypsy

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the new star for French side PSG. (Courtesy of Facebook)

    As his gene pool would denote, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is quite a special character. A man with mixed family traits coming from the Balkans and from the northern coasts of Europe could only become a free soul made to conquer most of the world one way or another.

    Ibrahimovic has been loved and hated by everyone he has played with or been coached by. He will be the first one to admit that he does not have many friends in the soccer world, and mostly this is due to his intricate personality. Much like Balotelli or Cassano, his eccentricities were always pinned on his youthfulness of spirit, and many suggested that as he would grow older and more mature, his tremendous skills would mesh well with a more serene character, and Zlatan would implode into one of the best players on earth.

    We are still waiting for that to happen, but at 30, Ibrahimovic can be proud to know that he is the one player that has moved the highest amount of money in terms of transfers throughout his career.

    From his breakthrough at Ajax, after a couple years at his home club in Malmoe, Sweden, he was signed by Juventus for 16 million euros. In 2006, when the team was relegated to Serie B because of the betting scandal, the forward joined all time rival Inter Milan for 26 million euros. Just three years later, he was a part of the Eto’o transfer to Inter Milan from Barcelona, which was valued at over 70 million euros (40 in cash, plus the value of Maxwell and Eto’o’s transfer). His time at Barcelona was not great, and his continuous disputes with Pep Guardiola invited Ibra to move away the next summer. A one year loan to Milan evolved into a 24 million euro transfer last year, and now, Berlusconi’s need for cash to power his media empire and restart his political career, see the Swedish international land in Paris to play for PSG for a fee around 20 million euros.

    Over 150 million euros in transfers in a career that has taken him to Holland, Italy, Spain and now France, and all the while being able to win the national leagues with every single team he has suited up for.

    His latest adventure finds him in Paris, playing for PSG, a team that has won two leagues and one Cup Winners’ Cup in its history, but that has been determined to change its own destiny in the last few years. Nasser Al-Khelaifi, managing partner of Qatar Investment Authority, which owns, among other world leading companies, the media properties of AlJazeera, invested heavily in the club and already bombed out the competition last year when he offered Palermo 45 million euros for Argentine Javier Pastore.

    He also brought team legend Leonardo to be the team’s managing director, who in turn appointed longtime friend and former coach at AC Milan, Carlo Ancelotti as head coach last winter. Thiago Motta, former Inter Milan center mid, and Thiago Silva, also from AC Milan, and a package deal with Ibra, have joined the team which the Swedish forward dubbed as “the Dream Team” in his official introduction as a new player in the team earlier today. Ezequiel Lavezzi, from Napoli, was also signed earlier this summer for about 30 million euros, turning PSG into one of the continent’s greatest powers.

    And so, Zlatan’s gypsy ways have landed him in a smaller market league, but also a league with great growth potential. He will for sure feel right at home as he was Carlo Ancelotti’s top priority for this summer, and he’s already said that he would like to settle down in Paris and finish his career playing at Parque Des Princes Stadium. Of course, he then noted: “well, that’s also how I felt about Milan and look at me now. I don’t want to think about the future, just want to focus on the present”.

    A true gypsy at heart, that’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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