Friday afternoon question: Does Ibrahimovic deserve more credit?

January 25, 2008

Zlatan receives an award in SwedenInter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is every manager’s dream, or at least he should be. He’s tall, good in the air but also skilful on the ground and ruthless in the penalty area.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini knows he has a special player. He rarely rests him in Serie A but makes sure not to risk him in the much-maligned Italian Cup, even in Wednesday’s 2-2 home draw against former club Juve.

“A great player has won it for us at the end,” Mancini said last Sunday after Ibra scored twice in the last few minutes as unbeaten leaders Inter came from behind to edge Parma 3-2. The Swede also netted a brace in the previous week’s win at Siena.

Yet despite being joint top scorer in Serie A with 13 goals and in the Champions League with five, Ibrahimovic does not seem to command the same respect as other top strikers in Europe.

He didn’t even make the list of nominations for FIFA world player of the year in 2007 and Inter fans were furious.

Of course, Juventus supporters hate him after he quit the club following their match-fixing demotion to go to their biggest rivals. However, their anger mainly springs from the fact he is playing 10 times better for Inter than he did in Turin.

He has easily been the best player in Italy this term, smashing them in from all distances and setting up team mates with delightful flicks or passes. Six converted penalties also demonstrates his coolness under pressure. 

He sometimes gets mentioned as a transfer target in Spain but you rarely hear of the big English clubs being interested, and he never seems to be a serious candidate for the top international awards.

Why is that, do you think? Are the Italians wrong to regard him as one of the world’s best? And, for that matter, is there a better out-and-out striker in the world these days? Let us know in the comments.

PHOTO: Ibrahimovic gestures at the Swedish Sports Awards 2008 Gala after being presented with the Jerring Award in Stockholm, January 14, 2008. REUTERS/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix


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It’s funny. He’s obviously a big star to half of Europe, but a lot of people know him only by reputation. I expect Liverpool fans will know a bit more about him in a couple of weeks or so. The defence will have to do better than they did against Villa if they’re going to stop him.

Posted by Kev | Report as abusive

The problem with Ibrahimovic has always seemed to be his attitude and temperament when not playing in a winning team though that does appear to be changing.

His stock would rise dramatically if Inter could put their dodgy European pedigree behind them and have a decent run this year. Despite predicting otherwise in December, I fancy they’ll get past Liverpool at least.

As far as out-and-out strikers go, I’m a Fernando Torres man. The guy’s got everything.

Posted by Padraic Halpin | Report as abusive

I guess any moodiness has been hidden by the fact Inter are unbeaten. Generally though he has matured a lot.
Torres is quicker but is only now proving himself with another team while Ibra has had success with Ajax, Juve,Inter and to an extent Sweden.

Now if Crouch was as good on the floor as in the air….

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

The question is does it really matter that Zlatan is not getting the credit that he deserves? If he his netting goals week-in week-out for Inter and pleasing their fans and manager alike he will get his rewards through trophies, it just depends whether that is enough for the Swede or if he yearns for recognition from fellow pro’s and coaches.
Because he doesn’t get the attention he deserves it could well work in his favour, perhaps he can go about his business without unwanted interruptions.

Posted by Betting Blue Boy | Report as abusive

Self prophecy,built on his self-hype of the past.He would have received more credit if he was more humble.

Posted by Cy Nical | Report as abusive

Mark, I think you’re totally wrong. Ibrahimovic gets a lot of credit and will be awarded with a big trophy of some kind in the future. It has taken a while for him to move from Juve to Inter and rise above the rancor spewed toward him by football fans for what was perceived to be abandonment (forgetting that it might have been the other way around, the club letting the players down – but that is for another discussion). I think he is mentioned among the top 3 strikers in the world unanimously. Ask around. You’ll see. He may display the wrong attitude, and if he does shame on him. But that does not detract from the recognition he gets around the world.

Posted by Mitch | Report as abusive

Decent player, obviously, and he was in the UEFA team of the year, so he is getting plenty of respect, inf act. Simple fact is he’s not quite golden ball material. Needs a big tournament with Sweden and you suspect it’s nto going to happen.

Posted by davex | Report as abusive

l saw the potential when he was at Ajax. he is really good but yet to hit the form of the Drogbas and Etos of this world

Posted by Kb | Report as abusive

I think the concept of an ‘Italian striker’ is a oxymoron in itself inspite of him being a swede… the fact that italian football emphasizes on the catennacio form of play makes it difficult to pinpoint a great striker… whereas in la liga, eredivise and premiership the striker takes it all…. maybe that is why they get more recognition…

p.s: just my viewpoint, i could be wrong….would love to be proved otherwise

Posted by Shyam | Report as abusive

I think Slatan is a very good striker but he had a poor world cup performance in 2006 and after that did not to great things but had a average performance.

I think now he’s back on top but needs to proove his level at the 2008 Euro and in the Champions league.

Posted by Chrisitan Steve Brown | Report as abusive