Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of soccer’s true super stars, and probably its most underrated (though not by me, I had him in my Euro 2012 all-star team even though his team, Sweden, didn’t make it out of the group stage). Ibrahimovic has scored prolifically, and often “for fun,” at the club level (including for the top clubs in Italy, Spain, and France). And, despite playing internationally for so-so Sweden, he has a better goals-per-match ratio than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have managed for Argentina and Portugal, respectively. Yet Ibrahimovic is seldom mentioned as being in their class, or even that of Naymar, Brazil’s latest bright young thing.
Even so, Ibrahimovic is one of the very few individual footballers I’d pay good money to see play, and I had the opportunity to do so this summer when he played in Washington, D.C. with his new club Paris St. Germain. He didn’t disappoint, producing a goal early in the exhibition before being replaced.
Ibrahamovic isn’t known for spectacular goals, which may be one reason why he’s under-appreciated. However, he delivered a candidate for goal of the decade yesterday in a “friendly” match against England. Having already produced a hat-trick, the Swede (of central European origin) scored a goal like none I’ve ever seen. Here it is:
Meanwhile, Naymar, who in fairness is another I’d pay to see, produced this missed penalty kick against Columbia yesterday.