“The crowd wanted Zlatan, so I gave them Zlatan” *shrug
If you’re going to talk the talk, you better be prepared to walk the walk. And nobody does both better than Zlatan Ibrahimovic. In fact, he doesn’t so much talk as preach, or walk as strut.
After a week or so of everybody hating the Swedish superstar on twitter, he preach-strutted his way out of things once again with some heroics in the LA derby.
To many, Ibrahimovic crossed the line into parody long ago, and that’s partly what the big number nine enjoys. But it certainly still has the capacity to rankle some.
In March of last year, the former Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United striker laid down a marker as soon as he joined LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLS).
The Swede took out a full page ad in the Los Angeles Times that simply said: “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome”. In less than week, his new audience knew exactly why.
Coming on as substitute in the “El Trafico” derby against city rivals LAFC with 19 minutes left, Zlatan turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win, scoring a quite stunning volley for the equaliser and a winning header in the dying seconds.
“I heard the crowd saying ‘We want Zlatan, we want Zlatan’, so I gave them Zlatan.”
LA, and the MLS, swooned. A year on, he repeated the trick in even more spectacular, and contentious, fashion.
In the build up to last weekend ’s derby the 37-year-old Ibrahimovic dismissed the comparisons with LA’s on form Carlos Vela, by reminding the press that at his best he had dominated Europe’s best leagues, whereas his Mexican rival only excels in the much weaker American one. In one swoop, Zlatan had belittled Vela and the MLS.
He was “a Ferrari among Fiats”, he insisted. Enough to turn many people off, you’d guess.