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I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic By Zlatan Ibrahimovic with David Lagercrantz

Release date: 04th September, 2013
Publisher: Penguin

List Price: £8.99
Our Price: £6.29
You Save: £2.7 (30%)
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Any footballer who boasts 44 goals in 91 international appearances in addition to prolific spells at Ajax, Juventus, Internazionale, AC Milan, Barcelona and Paris St Germain, where he notched 30 goals in 34 appearances last term, is rightly considered world-class. Europe’s leading clubs have not been slow to recognise this talent either, paying a staggering aggregate total of €180 million (£156 million) in transfer fees for his services during the period 2001-12, excluding wages, making him the most valuable footballer in history.

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s ‘autobiography’ was published in Sweden, it sold more than 700,000 copies and was shortlisted for a prestigious literary award. Published here in paperback on 5th September and is best described as an ‘interesting’ read.

There’s no doubt that on his day, the giant Swede (he’s 6’5”) is virtually unplayable, as he proved with an audacious overhead strike against England last season. It’s also true that, having played with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi, he’s never appeared out of his depth – though British audiences might argue that he’s never played a decent game on these shores.

Perhaps that’s why we’re a little wary of him. Yes, he can manage La Liga and Serie A, but is he good enough to play a couple of seasons in the Premier League? We’re unlikely to ever find out after he signed a three-year contract with PSG worth an estimated €14 million a year, net of tax.

One thing we do discover from an intense, often self-absorbed book, is that Zlatan is not short of confidence; there is little in the way of self-criticism. Indeed when, early on, he states, “I do things my way. I don’t give a d**n what other people think…”, the reader is given a foretaste of what is to come.

Consider, for example, his description of life under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona: “I scored one goal after another. We won the UEFA Supercup. I was amazing. I dominated on the pitch.” Yet this modest man fell out with his Spanish coach and was sold to AC Milan at a €45 million loss.

Strikers feed off self-belief and confidence, but it can go over the top at times and border on the cocky and narcissistic. This book would have been much better had Ibrahimovic shown a little more humility because he has a great story to tell. Unfortunately, displays of modesty appear about as likely as him lining up in England’s top flight anytime soon.


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