By Kris Voakes
He is still looked upon by many as a nearly man, an unnecessary luxury item for any side looking to challenge at the very top of the game. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic continues to show up those narrow-minded enough to write him off, proving he is a true great of the modern game.
After netting a hat trick on Sunday for Paris Saint-Germain against St Etienne, he netted twice more on Thursday against Estonia to break the long-standing record of Sven Rydell and become Sweden’s all-time leading goalscorer.
His latest brace for the Blagult took him to an unprecedented 50 international goals, and he has now scored nine goals in just four full starts so far this season. The stats involved in the 32-year-old’s career records are simply phenomenal.
While his infamous Champions League drought continues, his record of having won 11 league titles in 13 years – including 10 in the last 11 attempts – is unparalleled among the world’s top leagues.
And it is not just team awards he has collected time and again. He topped the Serie A scoring charts twice, and has been Ligue 1’s top goal-getter in both campaigns with PSG.
He was named Italy’s Player of the Year three times and Serie A’s Foreign Footballer of the Year on five occasions. In his two seasons in Paris, he has racked up back-to-back Ligue 1 Player of the Year crowns.
Few players can match his honors in the game, either individually or as part of a successful team, and his 367 career goals mark is only set to grow. Over the last half decade, his season-on-season tally has barely relented. He netted 21 times for Barcelona in 2009-10 before scoring 22 between Barca and AC Milan the following campaign.
His second and final season with Milan was notable for its lack of a Scudetto yet Ibra hit 35 goals, a figure he would match 12 months later with PSG. Last term was his finest yet in front of goal, racking up a career-best 41 strikes, and 2014-15 already promises to be a season to remember.
It is time people gave Zlatan the immense credit he deserves.Follow Kris Voakes on