‘I chose to be myself’ – Ibrahimovic explains how he became an icon with a statue

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The enigmatic Swede, who is currently in MLS with the LA Galaxy, claims to have had little assistance on his way to reaching the very top of the game

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s career has taken him from Malmo to the LA Galaxy via the likes of Juventus, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, with the Swede claiming he has succeeded because he “chose to be myself”.

The 38-year-old has never been shy when it comes to talking up his qualities.

He has earned the billing ‘King Zlatan’ while often referring to himself as a lion.

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Few arguments can be made against him, with the legendary frontman having netted goals and collected trophies wherever he has been.

His achievements at the very top of the game are now being recognised by a statue in his home city of Malmo.

Ibrahimovic feels honoured to have achieved such status, with his mercurial talent and personality having made it impossible for others to guide him along a stunning career path.

He told Expressen: “The statue means a lot.

“That's my legacy. That's what I've been through, what I stand for. It will become a symbol for those who feel just like I did, a symbol that you can succeed no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, even if you feel different or don't feel welcome.

“Not just when it comes to football, it stands for so much more than just football players.

“Everyone who feels they need support, needs power, energy: just look at the statue, or come to the statue. It's proof that you can succeed if you believe in yourself.

“I'm no bigger than anyone else, it could be anyone. It's as simple as that. I'm not chosen or special in any way, I fought and believed in myself.

“When I started my career, it wasn't like I had someone who'd gone before me that I could ask.

“I remember asking Henrik Larsson: ‘What should I do? How should I do it? Explain it to me’.

“He said very simply: ‘No one has been in your shoes, no one has been in your situation. What should you do? You'll find that path yourself’.

“So I had no one I could lean on, or talk to about this. No one could explain to me how everything worked.

“I had to find the balance myself, I had to build self-confidence and find my own way. In all these aspects I chose to be myself.”

Ibrahimovic is approaching the end of his playing career, but is still proving to be a prolific presence in MLS with the Galaxy.

It has been suggested that another move could soon be made, with Argentine giants Boca Juniors said to be keen, but no indication has been offered by the man himself as to what the next chapter has in store.

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