Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged two goals in Barcelona’s Champions League quarter final first leg with Arsenal last week, and Moments of Magic looks back at the goal that really put him on the map.
#17 Zlatan Ibrahimovic v NAC Breda, 2004
There have been some great solo efforts down through the years, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s is up there with Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and the rest of the very best.
The stunning effort for Ajax against NAC Breda in 2004 was voted the Goal of the Year by Eurosport viewers, and it’s not difficult to see why.
Ibrahimovic scored twice in a resounding 6-2 win, and when asked afterwards what he thought of the goal, he responded in the same nonchalant way that has become his trademark.
“Oh well, I made more goals like that in Sweden,” he said.
“But okay, I guess this one is in my personal top five.”
The words of Volkskrant reporter Willem Vissers best sum up the genius that took place.
“A goal like a symphony, composed by a beanpole who sometimes plays blatantly out of tune, but is also able to produce the most delicate sounds (…) dribbling, turning, squeezing past everything yellow and black, while the buzz inside the stadium builds up. What’s happening here? He slips past Mendes da Silva, then beats Koning twice, then Stam, then Mendes who’s giving it another try. He drives the ball forward with the outside of his foot, then the inside, he drags it along with the sole of his boot. The street artist from Malmö is in total control here, the tall footballer with unique skills. After one last touch with his right he pushes the ball under goalkeeper Schollen, lightning-quick: right-left, tschak-tschak. The crowd at the ArenA, that sometimes takes in a game of football so passively, springs to its feet after the outstanding goal, clapping, cheering. People fall into each other’s arms and slam each other on the shoulders. This is Ajax. This is the football they want to see.”
Things turned soured at Ajax not long after however when Ibrahimovic was accused of deliberately injuring team mate Rafael van der Vaart in an international game, and he was subsequently sold.
He moved to Juventus where he stayed until their demotion for match fixing in 2006, before joining Inter Milan and winning three consecutive Serie A titles.
In the summer of 2009 he left Italy and headed to Spain to link up with Barcelona in a deal that saw Samuel Eto’o plus cash move in the opposite direction.