Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimović was once much maligned by British football journalists and pundits. His €69.5 million transfer from Internazionale to Barcelona in 2009 had a number questioning his ability.
Over the past five years following his move to Spain which lasted only one season under Pep Guardiola, the Swedish striker has most certainly established himself as one of the greatest players in the game today – both around the world and by British journalists, pundits and fans alike.
Zlatan Ibrahimović’s goalscoring record in domestic league action is somewhat phenomenal since leaving Malmö FF as a tall, skinny teen to join Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax back in 2001.
He has scored 228 goals in 386 league matches playing for the likes of Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain over the past 13 seasons with still seven games to play in Ligue 1 this season.
Over the past three seasons, he has scored 83 goals in his last 96 league games.
Ibrahimović’s goals have helped led his teams to 10 league titles in the previous 12 seasons and number 11 looks on the way with current club PSG having a 13-point lead over second place AS Monaco with only seven games remaining.
In the UEFA Champions League, the Swedish international is one of the competition’s highest-ever goalscorers, with 41 goals in 102 appearances. That’s 0.4 goals a game. Impressive.
Aside from failing to win the Champions League, despite playing for Internazionale and Barcelona whom both went on to lift the trophy the season after he left, there’s still one question mark that remains on Ibrahimović’s shoulders; can he deliver versus English teams?
With two games coming up against Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Champions League this week, Zlatan Ibrahimović has the opportunity to put some critics to rest and improve on his previously woeful record when facing English Premier League sides.
José Mourinho’s Chelsea are one of the ultimate tests. Certainly England’s most impressive in Europe this season, despite key player Nemanja Matić being ineligible to play in either leg.
Previously, Ibrahimović and his team mates have fared pretty woefully against English opposition, scoring just 3 goals in 15 appearances and winning just 1 of those. That’s a goal ratio of 0.2. Not so impressive. Here’s a look at his match record:
2002-03 second group stage
Arsenal 1-1 Ajax: played 78 minutes, 0 goals
Ajax 0-0 Arsenal: played 83 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 13 games, 5 goals
Liverpool 2-1 Juventus: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Juventus 0-0 Liverpool: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 10 games, 0 goals
Arsenal 2-0 Juventus: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Juventus 0-0 Arsenal: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 9 games, 3 goals
2007-08 round of 16
Liverpool 2-0 Internazionale: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Internazionale 0-1 Liverpool: played 79 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 7 games, 5 goals
2008-09 round of 16
Internazionale 0-0 Manchester United: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Manchester United 2-0 Internazionale: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 8 games, 1 goal
Arsenal 2-2 Barcelona: played 76 minutes, scored 2 goals
Barcelona 4-1 Arsenal: did not play
Champions League record that season: 10 games, 4 goals
2010-11 round of 16
AC Milan 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 AC Milan: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 8 games, 4 goals
2011-12 round of 16
AC Milan 4-0 Arsenal: played 90 minutes, scored 1 goal
Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan: played 90 minutes, 0 goals
Champions League record that season: 8 games, 5 goals
The Swedish striker failed to score in his first ten matches versus English opponents. Five of those ties with in the knock out stages of the competition, in which his side were eliminated on each occasion.
Facing Arsenal in two of the last three seasons has proven to be a successful time for Ibrahimović and his team mates – the striker scored three goals in three matches versus the Gunners as Barcelona and AC Milan progressed into the next round on each occasion.
Zlatan Ibrahimović’s overall Champions League record is as follows:
Scoring in AC Milan’s 4-0 victory over Arsenal in 2012 is the only time Zlatan Ibrahimović has been on the winning side versus English opposition in what was his 14th match. His side lost 3-0 in the second leg.
His overall record versus Premier League clubs reads likes so:
More Zlatan Ibrahimović data can be read here.
Wednesday evening sees round 16 of Zlatan Ibrahimović versus England as Paris Saint-Germain host Chelsea. Do you think the big Swede will get himself on the scoresheet and who do you think will progress through to the semi-finals?