Dear Mr Ibrahimovic, sorry we ever doubted you

In a heartfelt letter to Zlatan, apologises on behalf of a nation for ever questioning the Sweden star's talent following his four-goal trouncing of England

By Paul Macdonald

Dear Mr. Ibrahimovic,

You have convinced a nation. We, the English, opined that you were an undoubtedly gifted but utterly self-indulgent demigod, one worthy of a pat on the back and a slap on the ponytail in equal measure. As our fans postulated on Wednesday night, you were simply a s**t Andy Carroll in appearance and in execution.

We now accept that to be a vicious slur. Courtesy of that age-old journalistic statute, that which decrees unless we saw it happen, it never happened, we have until now provided a somewhat unfair summation of your talents.

You must understand, you see, that the English Premier League represents the epicentre of the known universe. If you recall those heathens from Barcelona, those that accepted the beauty of another before your splendour, then you must accept our rationale! Should we verify the efficacy of an outsider, we weaken the veracity of our fabled Premier League. At least, that is how it is written.

But now, now we must abide by the laws of an alternate universe where Ibrahimovic becomes part of the building-block of football life. Your four goals against our brave English heroes have transformed the psychological make-up of modern (English) football.


 AJAX (2001-04)
'02, '04
 JUVENTUS (2004-06)
'05, '06
 INTER (2006-09)
'07,' 08, '09
 BARCELONA (2009-11)
 AC MILAN (2010-12)
Besides Lionel Messi (Heathen!), Cristiano Ronaldo (Traitor!), Wayne Rooney (Exciting prospect!) & Radamel Falcao (Potential alumni!), you have become the fifth element; the final ingredient in our all-encompassing football coverage. The others became obvious to us by keeping our pan-continent, multi-cultural ears to the ground. Previously, you were nothing but an omnipresent inconvenience, with your minor exploits on the periphery of our zone of influence.

So it comes as a refreshing surprise when you are capable of 'doing it versus an English side', and our coverage, which was somewhat ambivalent to your abilities until the last few days, will absolutely reflect this.

Of course, when you instinctively back-heeled over Italian also-rans Gianluigi Buffon and Christian Vieri at 2004, that was simply due to the obtuseness of the situation - the obvious absence of an English defender to stand in your way.

Your vaguely memorable double against Arsenal at the Emirates in 2010 was of course overshadowed by our very own Theo Walcott and his heroic heroism in earning Arsenal a 2-2 draw.

You have a ratio of one goal in every two games at club level, a period where you established a penchant for spectacular goals in 'other' countries.... but a random YouTube compilation means nothing when compared to quantifiable success.

Your eight league titles, primarily those earned in Italy, are tainted by phone conversations that we would never dream of spending any time investigating, especially when we have so many interesting players who actually want to come to England, unlike your abstinent self.

Your international record of 39 goals in 85 games - a ratio on par with our own Bobby Charlton, with a much inferior supporting cast - is of course boosted by this special night, the night where you bested England by scoring four times against our weakened, vulnerable nation!

Forget all that. Those four goals, the last person to net three or more against the Three Lions was Marco van Basten for Netherlands at Euro '88, making this a celebration of your previously unheralded abilities.

And as for your coupe de grace? Well, attempting to score an overhead kick from 25 yards, on the volley, over two defenders, is frankly irresponsible, but it appears to have been moderately received, so it seems that there is kudos for that kind of recklessness.

To conclude, your performance has given us the opportunity to suggest that we were always aware of your talent, but it was never fully realised until Joe Hart was humbled. England welcomes you into our pantheon of acknowledgement.

Well done - we did not think you had it in you.