One of the bigger transfer rumors circulating this summer is that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a possible return to AC Milan. The 33-year-old Swedish soccer star played for the Red and Blacks for two seasons before transferring to Paris Saint Germain in 2012. Since winning four trophies with PSG this past season, Ibrahimovic has stoked the rumor mill flames, indicating that he might be ready to leave France before the 2015 – 2016 season begins. However, thanks to a contract extension he signed in 2013, Zlatan is bound to the Parisians until next year, and based on how much the Swedish forward has helped PSG over the past few years, it’s difficult to see club officials letting him go.
Regardless of where he ends up playing football in 2015 – 2016, though, Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be an asset. Though the footballer will celebrate his 34th birthday this fall, he remains on the top of his game as a dependable offensive star. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to label Ibrahimovic as one of the best forwards in the game today—even though he might often be overshadowed by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The Early Days
Zlatan has followed an interesting career arc, in that he is arguably peaking in his 30s where virtually all soccer players—especially forwards—tend to peak in their mid-20s. The Swede was always a strong player, and caught plenty of eyes during his early-career stints at Malmo FF (1999 to 2001), Ajax (2001 to 2004), and Juventus (2004 to 2006).
But Ibrahimovic was always improving, both in his consistency as a player and in his goalscoring statistics. After moving from Juventus to Inter Milan, Zlatan didn’t miss a beat moving into a leadership position. He scored 15 goals to lead Internazionale to the top of the Serie A table—with a then-record point tally of 97, no less. (Juventus broke the record in 2013 – 2014, with 102 points.)
A Reign of Title Victories
Things only got better for Zlatan in his next two years at Inter. The football club won the Serie A title each year that he was there, and in 2008 – 2009, he led the league with 25 goals. He was also decorated with Serie A’s “Footballer of the Year Award” (for the second year in a row), and was rumored to be the world’s highest-paid soccer player. Life was good for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
From there on out, titles seemed to follow Ibrahimovic wherever he went. In 2009 – 2010, his one season at Barcelona, he played a role in winning trophies in the La Liga, the Supercopa de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2010 – 2011, he headed back to the Serie A, leading AC Milan to a national title and an Italian Super Cup. The next season, AC Milan lost the Serie A title to Juventus, but Ibrahimovic led the league in goals, with a then-career high of 28.
Paris Saint Germain
It’s been with PSG that Zlatan has really hit his stride, though. At 30 years old, Ibrahimovic could have easily been heading into the twilight of his career when he signed his contract with the Parisians in July 2012. As the years have shown, though, he was actually heading into his prime.
Indeed, in his first year wearing the Paris Saint Germain football shirt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a soccer club that hadn’t won a title since 1994 and turned them into Ligue 1 champions. He also beat his own personal scoring record, tallying 30 goals in the space of 34 league fixtures.
Zlatan has continued to hit new superlatives in each of his successive seasons at PSG. In 2013 – 2014, he led the Parisians to a second Ligue 1 title, a victory in the Coupe de la Ligue, and a win in the Trophee des Champions. In 2014 – 2015, he helped Paris Saint Germain win all of those titles plus a Coupe de France—making for a quadruple that is historic in the annals of French football.
Will Ibrahimovic be back to don the PSG home shirt 2015 – 2016 in the fall? Or will Paris fans have to watch their star player fly back to Italy? Only time will tell, but you can hope for him to stick around France by picking up a new Paris Saint Germain jersey 2015 – 2016 at Soccer Box! Use the coupon code “BLOG2015” to save 12.5% on your order.