The Best FIFA Football Awards
Zlatan, a footballing black belt
22 Aug 2019
- Zlatan adds another legendary goal to his collection
- Swede now the master of the acrobatic execution
- 500th goal of the striker’s career
Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not relocate to Los Angeles, the movie capital of the world, just to play supporting roles. After serious injury brought a premature end to his spell with Manchester United, the Swedish colossus immediately silenced any doubters by scoring a brace on his first outing with the Galaxy – one of them a sumptuous strike from more than 40 yards.
Since then, the 37-year-old has continued to impress with his feats, proving that the advancing years have not yet diminished his extraordinary eye for goal or the spectacular. Voted Major League Soccer’s Newcomer of the Year in 2018, he ended his first season with 22 goals and 10 assists.
One of these occurred on 15 September 2018 with his team 3-0 down away to Toronto FC. Up stepped the former PSG frontman to prove again that no one can acrobatically volley a high ball from deep quite like Zlatan. Once more, it left an opposing keeper bamboozled and rooted to the spot.
And while the wonder strike could not prevent his side going down 5-3, it was enough to make the winner of the 2013 FIFA Puskás Award a serious contender to claim the honour again for 2019.
Did you know?
Zlatan’s ability to conjure up unique, acrobatic moves owes more to his background in taekwondo, the martial art in which he obtained his black belt at just 17, than any coaching manual.
500 - This goal was the 500th of Ibrahimovic’s career, making him the third active player alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to have reached that milestone.
"I'm doing a book with statistics and the main chapter was titled ‘500’ - like the number of goals I’ve scored. That was the goal and if I hadn't scored that, it would be 499.
"And it went, last Wednesday, into production, so if I didn't score that it would be too late or we risk [publishing] it and then wait for when I do it. But what if I got injured? It would not look good! My aim was 500 and I'm super happy." Zlatan Ibrahimovic, talking to the media after that famous goal