On the 13th November 2012, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an unthinkable goal that amazed football fans across the world
It was a game which marked the opening of the new Swedish national stadium. A friendly match between Sweden and England. Both sides saw it as a chance to give a few fringe players a chance and the game was littered with substitutions.
England looked to be heading for a 2-1 victory with just 15 minutes remaining after goals from Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker followed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s opener. The PSG striker then slammed in an equaliser past Joe Hart. Sweden then took the lead through that man again, as he drilled a free-kick into the corner from 35 yards.
It looked like it would be a disappointing end to the match for England, as Zlatan had given a great performance. But he wasn’t finished. An innocuous clearance forward from the Sweden defence, made Joe Hart come out to meet the ball, and he headed it high into the air. Ibrahimovic watched the ball carefully before an audacious overhead-kick from 30 yards. He made contact with the ball eight feet in the air. The ball looped up and towards the goal. Ryan Shawcross ran back trying to keep the ball out, and even as an England fan I hoped that he wouldn’t reach it in time. He didn’t, the ball flew into the net and Ibrahimovic wheeled off in celebration knowing that he had just scored one of the greatest goals of all time. He certainly silenced any doubters who said he didn’t deliver on the big stage.
Ibra’ became the only person to ever score four goals against England on that night and the first to score a hat-trick since Marco Van Basten in 1988.
Ibrahimovic has not looked back since that day, and seems to have got even better. He has a phenomenal goal scoring record, scoring over 300 goals in a glittering career. He has won the league title ten times in his career, twice in Holland with Ajax, six times in Italy with Juventus, Inter and AC Milan, once with Barcelona in Spain, and once in France with his current club PSG.
He has already scored 14 goals in 15 games so far this season, and has scored some more fantastic goals, including a wonderful back-heel flick against Bastia last month. Many leading football pundits have said that he is now the third best player in the world. Some have even said that right now there is no one as good as this man, due to his fantastic current form. This weekend Sweden face Portugal in a World Cup Play-off, which will see only one of Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo feature in the World Cup. Right now, the Swedish striker looks the more exciting footballer to watch and it would be a shame if he were to miss out given that he is at the peak of his career. Although it seems as if he has always been at the peak of his career, he has never really had a bad season.
The goal below is nominated for the FIFA Ferenc Puskas Goal of the Year award, and it must surely be the favourite to win. I remember jumping up and down in disbelief at the goal at the time, and it still amazes me.