Friday, October 3, 2014

3 October 1981 - The Sweet-Finishing Swede

On 3 October 1981, Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimović was born in Malmö. The striker, who currently plays for PSG, is now one of the highest-paid footballers in the world.

Ibrahimović started his professional career in 1999 with his hometown club, Malmö FF, but transferred to Ajax in 2001. He helped Ajax win the Eredivisie title in his first season. He also made his first appearance for the Swedish national team senior side in 2001.

In 2004, he moved to Juventus and made an immediate impact, scoring 16 goals his first season. Juve won the Serie A title in Ibrahimović's two seasons there, but were forced to relenquish those Scudettos after being found guilty of match-fixing. As an additional punishment, Juve were relegated to Serie B for the 2006-07 season. As a result, Ibrahimović left Juventus and signed with rivals Inter.

Again, Ibrahimović proved to be an instant success, becoming Inter's top scorer his first season with 15 goals and helping the Milanese club to three consecutive Scudettos. Despite his success, however, he has been the subject of frequent criticism for failing to make an impact in critical matches, including matches in the UEFA Champions League.

In 2009, Ibrahimović moived again, this time to reigning La Liga and Champions League holders Barcelona. The transfer was widely publicized, with Inter receiving forward Barça forward Samuel Eto'o (valued at €20 million) and €46 million for the striker. He currently earns €9.5 million per year with the Catalan club. Despite the price, he stayed there just over a season before returning to Italy to play for Milan. 

In 2012, after two seasons with Milan, he joined Paris Saint-Germain for a fee close to €20 million, raising his total transfer fees to €180 million, breaking the record previously held by Nicolas Anelka. He also received an annual salary of €14 million, making him the second-highest paid footballer in the world at the time, behind only Samuel Eto'.

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