What springs to your mind when I say Swedish football? For many it will be Henrik Larsson, a former great who spent the majority of his career up in Scotland at Celtic, where legend status is pinned to his chest after 242 goals in seven seasons. Maybe players who graced the Premiership like Niclas Alexandersson or Freddie Ljungberg might stand out for their bold hair styles and ability on the wings. Hey, some of you Leeds fans might be mumbling Tomas Brolin under your breath, for the wrong reasons. However in the modern age there is only one man who is the face and (joint) captain of the Swedish national team, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Yet there is a hovering question mark above his head as to whether he really has a future at his club.
Last summer he joined Barcelona for the second highest valued transfer of all time in a deal worth €46 million plus Samuel Eto’o in exchange. But Barcelona fans are very much spilt on whether Ibrahimovic deserves another season, especially with a chance to recoup a lot of that money if they sell him now, and more importantly freeing themselves of the high wages he collects every week in his fat pay packet. However his first season was hardly a failure, but winning over the Catalonian fans is a tough feat. He became their first player to score in his first four league appearances and after seven matches he had seven goals and was leading the race for the pichichi. Over the course of the season he scored 21 goals, yet why is the verdict still divided? He is one of the most gifted footballers in Europe bringing height and physical presence to the front line, offering a different option to that of his predecessors who were smaller and looked to play on the shoulder of the last defender. Goals such as the ones against Atletico Madrid, Malaga and that free-kick against Real Zaragoza show how brilliant a player Ibrahimovic is, but it has not been enough to get the full support from the Culés. He hasn’t got enough pace, he doesn’t try hard enough and can be moody, remind you of a certain player in Manchester?