Goal.com 50: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (21)

Our definitive countdown of the best players of 2010-11 continues with the world class forward, who fired AC Milan to the Serie A title
Welcome to the Goal.com 50! In this special series, Goal.com editors worldwide vote for the top 50 players of 2010-11. We count down to the announcement of the winner on August 21 with profiles of each and every player who made it into the top 50...

Zlatan Ibrahimovic left Inter in the summer of 2009 to join Barcelona to win the one trophy that has eluded him throughout his illustrious career. In a cruel twist of fate for the Swede though, his former side ended a 45-year drought in the Champions League and won the prestigious competition after knocking out his Barca side in a tense semi-final tie.

After falling out with coach Pep Guardiola, the big striker returned to his old stomping ground last summer but this time with AC Milan. He was now persona non grata in the blue half of Milan only 24 months removed from achieving hero status among most Interistas.

'Ibra' had won seven consecutive league titles with four different clubs before the 2010-11 campaign and the AC Milan hierarchy were betting on the fact that he could help the club win their first Scudetto since 2004.

"Ibrahimovic is the current symbol of Milan. His character has restored great confidence to the club."

- AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini

The 29-year-old sprinted out of the starting blocks, scoring five goals in his first seven games in all competitions. AC Milan had not hit top gear yet, though, and didn't really turn it on until October when they went on a seven-game unbeaten run with Zlatan chipping in with five goals and three assists during that span.

Ibra left Marco Materazzi for dead and won a penalty before sending Luca Castellazzi the wrong way to score the only goal of the game against city rivals Inter.

The most important victory during their impressive run came against Inter and once again Ibra played a starring role, scoring the lone goal to give them a psychological lift over their city rivals.

There was a new belief in and around San Siro heading into the Christmas holidays that Massimiliano Allegri's squad could break Inter's stranglehold on Serie A.

Ibrahimovic returned from the winter break a man possessed, scoring in five straight games as AC Milan sent notice to the rest of the league that they were the team to beat.

For all his success in Serie A, though, Ibrahimovic could not exorcise his Champions League demons as he failed to score in the round of 16 and AC Milan crashed out of the tournament at the hands of Tottenham.

AC Milan shook off the disappointing exit to Spurs and shifted their focus entirely on winning the Scudetto. They won six of their last eight games including an emphatic 3-0 victory over Inter, which all but confirmed the title would be changing hands on May 22.

Ibra played an integral role in the title winning campaign, netting 14 goals in 28 games including vital strikes against Inter, Napoli and Juventus.

"Ibra returned from the winter break a man possessed, scoring in five straight games as AC Milan sent notice to the rest of the league that they were the team to beat."

The Swede will now turn his attention to winning the Champions League in the upcoming season. AC Milan have added some reinforcements to their squad in the summer transfer window and Ibrahimovic can only hope the new additions will aid him in his quest to lift the elusive trophy.