Whilst England’s press and football pundits haven’t always appreciated the wizardry of Zlatan Ibrahimovich, there is certainly no doubt that his countrymen are head-over-heels in love with him – so much so that they have added a new dictionary entry to honour him. As of next year, the verb ‘to Zlatan’ will be added to Sweden’s national dictionary.
And what may be the dictionary explanation? ‘Kung-fu kicking, pony-tailed colossus’ perhaps? Well not quite but along the same lines. The Swedish Language Council define the verb as ‘to dominate on and off the field’ – an all encompassing explanation that displays Ibrahimovich’s penchant for being as mad-as-a-box-of-snakes off the pitch as well as world class on it.
It’s hardly a consolation for Zlatan who was denied a place on the short list of this year’s Ballon d’or, but it does shine a light on the respect and love that the Swedes have for him – an affection that also saw his auto-biography nominated for a prestigious Swedish literary prize.
Off the paper and on the green stuff, he’s not too shabby either – belting in 18 goals this season for PSG, an account keeping him atop the Ligue 1 goal rankings.
That phenomenal introduction to French football aside, it was the impossible goal he netted against England above all that made 2012 a truly memorable year for the eccentric striker. A goal that sits neatly next to the definition of ‘spectacular’ – ‘beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching manner.’