Zlatan Ibrahimovic in LA Galaxy Jersey
Zlatan Ibrahimovic of LA Galaxy (Image: AP Photo / Jon Shard/LA Galaxy)

Zlatan Ibrahimović is a professional football (soccer) player from Sweden who is regarded as one of the greatest ever to grace the ecstatic game. Ibrahimović is greatly known for his immeasurable confidence, massive wingspan, body balance, shot power, accurate first touch, jaw-dropping goals, acrobatic controls and slick dribbles. In fact, there is nothing in football Ibrahimović cannot do. Ibrahimovic is an honour ladened player who has graced top teams and all the top leagues in Europe. We bring to you, all you need to know about this amazing sports personality who has graced the game of football (soccer) in our Zlatan Ibrahimović biography facts, childhood and personal life.

Zlatan Ibrahimović Biography Facts

Full Name:Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Nickname:Lion, Ibra
Born:October 3, 1981 (age 37)
Place of Birth:Malmö, Sweden
Nationality:Swedish
Current Team:Los Angeles Galaxy
Jersey Number:9
Position:Central Forward
Height:6 ft 4 (1.95m)
Weight:95kg (209lbs)
Strong Foot:Right
Education:N/A
Parents:Sefik Ibrahimović (father), Jurka Gravić (mother)
Siblings:Sapko and Aleksander Ibrahimović (brothers) Sanela, Violeta and Monika Ibrahimović (sisters)
Net Worth:$237 million
Occupation:Football (Soccer) Player
Zodiac Sign:Libra

Zlatan Ibrahimović Childhood And Early Life

Zlatan Ibrahimović was born on the 3rd day of October 1981 in Malmö Sweden to Sefik Ibrahimović (father, Bosnian and Muslim) and Jurka Gravić (mother, Croatian Catholic and partial Albanian descent).

Zlatan Ibrahimović delved into playing football when he first received a pair of soccer boots when he was 6. As a youngster, he had no permanent team. He played for FBK Balkan, a club made up of mainly Yugoslavian migrants, Malmö BI and Bk Flagg. He became a  starter for his hometown club Malmö FF at early teenage years.

By 15, young Zlatan came really close to ending his footballing carrier to have a job at the docks there in Malmö, but his manager who must have foreseen the future persuaded him to not stop playing.

As a youngster, his football idol was mainly Brazilian forward Ronaldo, and he also a knack for Gabriel Batistuta as well. Even in a recent interview with Heineken, he said he still idolises the Brazilian forward and referred to him as the most complete player. 

Zlatan Ibrahimović was a victim of abuse and bullying, even in football, but he showed resilience, and converted the annoyance into confidence, growing up to becoming a beast himself.

Zlatan Ibrahimović Football Career

Junior Club Career

Malmö BI:1989–1991
FBK Balkan:1991–1995
Malmö FF:1995–1999

Senior Club Career

Malmö FF:1999–2001
Ajax:2001–2004
Juventus:2004–2006
Inter Milan:2006–2009
Barcelona:2009–2011
Milan:2010–2011 (loan)
Milan:2011–2012
Paris Saint-Germain:2012–2016
Manchester United:2016–2018
LA Galaxy:2018–Date

National Team Career

Sweden U18:1999
Sweden U21:2001
Sweden:2001–2016

Malmö FF 1999–2001

Zlatan became an officially signed player for Malmö FF in 1996 and was then promoted to the senior team in 1999. The team relegated that season but returned in the following season.

Ajax 2001–2004

Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger, failed at persuading Ibrahimovic to join Arsenal, but on the 22 March 2001, Ajax successfully signed Ibrahimovic for €8.7million.

On Arrival at Ajax, he was met with little playing time under the then Ajax manager Co Andriaanse. But on arrival of Ronald Koeman in November of the same 2001, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was quickly inserted to the starting line up where he helped them win the 2001/2002 Eredivisie title. 

On 22 August 2004, he brought the attention of football to himself when he scored a magnificent solo goal against NAC Breda, making his way past 5 of their players. The goal won goal of the year by Eurosport viewers.

Juventus 2004–2006

Ibrahimovic got sold to Juventus for €16 on the 31st August 2004, where he immediately got into the starting lineup and scored 16 goals which helped them top Serie A. At the end of the season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named Serie A foreign footballer of the year and in November 2005, he got the award Guldbozen for best Swedish footballer of the year.

In his second season, there were a few issues, he started playing more to the wing and then racking up assists much more than goals. In the subsequent season, fans got frustrated with him, then came the Sanction that forced the team to Serie B, making him force a move.

Inter Milan 2006–2009

Zlatan Ibrahimovic moved to Inter Milan for €24.8million where Ibrahimovic revealed that he supported inter when he was young. 

He made his premiere for inter against AS Roma in a super coppa Italiana on 26th August 2006, playing the full 90 mins. Inter Milan went ahead to win the match after extra time. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his first Serie A debut match which was held against Fiorentina on 9 September the same year. He went ahead to be the top scorer for the team in Serie A as the team won the league that season with 97 points. 

The next season, he scored the goal of the year with a backheeled shot. In the 08/09 season, he was the league top scorer with 25 goals helping inter to another league title while winning footballer of the year and foreign footballer of the year for the second consecutive season.

Barcelona 2009–2011 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic moved to Barcelona in the summer of the 2009 season signing a 5-year contract. He became the very first player ever to score in his first five league matches. He was selected to be part of the 2009 UEFA team of the year. 

Zlatan’s issues at Barcelona ensued when Messi complained that he wanted to play in the middle, not on the wing, forcing him, Zlatan, out of his natural position.

The lion was not the one to sit on the bench so he was loaned out to AC Milan on 28 August 2010 with a purchase clause, which Milan would go to activate when the loan period was over. He signed a 4-year deal hoping to win the champions league, Zlatan’s stay in Barcelona was not completely rosy—he was aggressive, got a 3 match ban twice within a year. He won the league with Milan in 2011, helped AC Milan win the Supercopa Italiana against his former team, Inter Milan, by scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win in the finals, scored another backheel goal against Novara, he then picked up another 3 match ban on the 5th of January 2012 in a match against Napoli. Nevertheless, he finished that season as Serie A top scorer with 28 goals in 32 matches.

Paris Saint-Germain 2012–2016

By July 2012 Ibrahimovic became Paris Saint-Germain player after signing a 3-year deal that made him the 2nd highest paid player in the world after Samuel Eto’o. He went ahead to score his signature backheel goal against Olympique Marseille. On 18 September 2012, he scored during a Champions League game against Dynamo Kyiv. Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped PSG win the Ligue 1 in 2013, ending their 2 long Ligue 1 drought being the top scorer in Ligue 1 that season and was also named player of the season.

On September 24, 2013, it was announced that his contract has been extended to 2016. He went ahead to score yet another back heel goal with a volley this time against Bastia, which was later named Ligue 1 goal of the season. May 2013, PSG won the Ligue 1, he was the top scorer and Ligue 1 best player for the second consecutive season with 26 league goals and 41 in the entire competitions. 

On August 2, 2014, Ibrahimovic scored two goals against Guingamp to help PSG secure the Trophée des Champions, making it the first trophy for the season. On March 11, 2015, he conceded a red card for a foul on Chelsea’s Oscar in a Champions League match which PSG went ahead to qualify on away goals.

Ibrahimovic scored two goals against Marseille to surpass Pauletta and became Paris Saint-Germain all-time leading goal scorer with 110 goals in the entire competitions. On March 9, 2016, he scored a goal against Chelsea FC to make him join the league of players to have scored 50 goals in the Champions League and he’s the 14th one to do so. He scored 4 goals against  Ligue 1 struggling side, Troyes, while scoring a hat-trick by the 9th minute making it the fastest hat-trick in Ligue 1. The third one made his 100th goal in the French Ligue 1 division. That same day, he made it public that he will be leaving the club by the end of the season and joked that he would stay if the Eiffel Tower was replaced with his statue. May 2016 he was named Ligue 1 player of the season for the third consecutive time after netting 32 league goals and scored 6 more league goals after the award.

In his final league game for PSG, he netted twice in the 4-0 win, making his 38 league goals tally surpass Carlos Bianchi 37 goals in one league season. In the tenth minute, the match was paused shortly as fans gave the outgoing legend a standing ovation and also cheered on just before the final whistle bringing his Ligue 1 career in Paris Saint Germain to an end. On May 21 2016, he netted 2 goals against Marseille in a Coupe de France final match, bringing his total tally for Paris Saint Germain to 156 goals, the match ended 4-2 in favour of PSG and he was substituted in the final minutes of the game to a huge standing ovation. 

Manchester United 2016–2018

On July 1, 2016, he moved to Manchester United as a free agent where he signed a one year contract which had extension option depending on performance. He was ascribed the number 9 jersey. He scored the second goal in a win for Manchester United in the community shield final against Leicester city on the 7th of August, picking up his first trophy with Manchester United. One week later he scored a long ranger in his Premier League debut in a 3-1 win against Bournemouth. He scored premier league’s 25,000th goal against Swansea in a 3-1 away win.

On 5th February 2017, he became the oldest player to score at least 15 league goals in a single season at 35 years and 125days old. 13th April he was nominated for PFA player of the year. He got a three-match ban after elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford. 20th April, Zlatan Ibrahimovic picked up a serious ligament injury in the knee of his right foot at Europa quarterfinal match against RSC Anderlecht. The injury put him on the sidelines until the end of the season. Meanwhile, the player told the club not to pay him during the course of the injury. Manchester United went ahead and won the Europa League in a final against Ajax, making it his first major European title, he was named in the UEFA Europa League team of the year.

On 24th of August 2017, Manchester United announced that they had secured Zlatan’s services for another year and also switching from Jersey number 9 to the jersey number 10. 18th November, he secured game time to play for the club after coming on in second half substitution for Anthony Martial in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle United. The week after, he became the first ever footballer to appear for seven clubs in the UEFA Champions League when he came on through a substitution in a 1-0 loss to Basel.

LA Galaxy 2018–Present

On 22nd March, the Premier League team announced that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had assented to the abortion of his contract. The very next day, Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for Major League Soccer club, Los Angeles Galaxy. In his debut match, he helped his team to a 4-3 with two goals with which one was from 41 meters out. On 15th September, he scored the 500th goal in his professional career for club and country with an acrobatic style.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was selected as the club captain as they prepared for the 2019 season. On the 31st March, he put the ball past the Portland Timbers goalkeeper twice in the match with penalties. The match ended in a 2-1 victory. With the two penalty goals, he attained 515 goals in his career surpassing his fellow Swedish compatriot Gunnar Nordahl to become the leading all-time highest scorer in Swedish football history.

National Team Career 1999–2016

Zlatan’s International career was a long one as well but without a trophy. In the start, he was qualified to play for either Bosnia or his mother’s original country, Croatia, but he decided he wanted Sweden. He was present at the 2002 world cup although his team was eliminated in the round of 16. During a Euro 2004 match, he scored a backheel goal in the 85th minute of a 1-1 draw match against Italy. He was named man of the match and the goal was later named goal of the tournament. His team was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Netherland.

Just before Euro 2012, he was named team captain. In the first match of the tournament, he scored a volley in a 2-0 win against France. He was named man of the match and the goal was named goal of the competition. The team was knocked off the tournament in the group stage despite the win and yet he was named in the team of the tournament even when Sweden got eliminated in the group stage.

On the 14th of November 2012, he netted all the goals in a 4-2 match win against England and the fourth one was from 35yards out with a bicycle kick while facing his own goal. The goal won Puskas 2013 FIFA Puskas Award for the goal of the year. Ibrahimovic netted his 50th national team career goal in a 2-0 friendly match win over Estonia on 4th September 2014, making him the Swedish all-time leading goal scorer. On the 8th of September, Zlatan made his 100th advent for the Swedish national team in a qualification match against Austria. On 21st September, he announced that he had retired from international football immediately after Sweden’s last match at the 2016 Euro.

Zlatan Ibrahimović Achievements And Awards

Ibrahimović is known as a well-decorated legend with numerous awards accumulated over a successful career. We list the honours achieved by this great Lion.

  1. 1x Dutch Cup winner 01/02 Ajax
  2. 2x Dutch Champion 01/02, 03/04 Ajax
  3. 2x Dutch Super Cup winner 2002′ 2003 Ajax
  4. 5x Italian Super Cup winner 06, 07, 08, 09 FC Inter 12, AC Milan
  5. 4x Italian Champion 07, 08, 09, FC Inter, 11 AC Milan
  6. 1x Spanish Champion 10 Barcelona
  7. 2x Spanish Super Cup 10, 11 Barcelona
  8. 1x FIFA Club World Cup winner 10 Barcelona
  9. 1x UEFA Super cup winner 10 Barcelona
  10. 4x French Champion 13, 14′ 15, 16 Paris Saint-Germain
  11. 2x French Cup winner 15, 16 Paris Saint-Germain
  12. 3x French League Cup winner 14, 15, 16 Paris Saint Germain
  13. 1x Europa League winner 17, Manchester United
  14. 1x English Super Cup winner 17, Manchester United 

Personal Awards

  1. 13x Footballer of the Year (05, 07, 08, Sweden, 08, 09, Italy 09-16 Sweden)
  2. 1x Player of the Year (06/07 Serie A) 
  3. 5x Top Scorer (08/09, 11/12 Serie A, 13-16 Ligue 1)

Zlatan Ibrahimović Personal Life

  • Zlatan has 5 siblings in all. His parents divorced when he was young although he lived more with his father.
  • His wife and long term partner with whom he has two sons is known as Helena Seger. Zlatan’s first son is Maximilian who was born 22 September 2006 and Vincent, born 6 March 2008. His current residence is outside of Los Angeles, though he has a home in his hometown Malmö where he spends some of the summer breaks.
  • He has an honorary black belt in Taekwondo, a sport he used to practice in Taekwondo club Enighet as a child, to which it could be said he adapted some of his back heel and aerial style from.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fluent in five languages which include Swedish, English, Spanish, Bosnian and Italian.
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has stated that he is Catholic in religious practice.
  • Muhammad Ali is one of his role models.
  • He is an ambassador for United Nations world food programme.
  • He has over 35million Instagram followers.
  • His documentary “becoming Zlatan” was released in February 2016 and equally has a book released in 2013 ” I am Zlatan”.
  • He has some tattoos on his body, some of which include the five Buddhist deva faces tantra, the phrase “only God can judge me”

Facts Check

Thanks for reading our article on this edition of biography facts, childhood and personal life of sports stars. At sportytell.com, we strive for fairness and accuracy. If you have concerns about something that doesn’t look right, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

What do you think? Leave your comments below