Zlatan Ibrahimović: All of the Reasons

Much is being discussed about Ibrahimović, particularly about how old he is. There is simply not enough talk about how good he is. But in addition to both of those statements being true, there are also the discussions about the mentality he he has brought to the team, and the gift that he is to all of the young players. Sure, those are the things everyone is talking about. However, there are also a couple of other reasons that should not be forgotten. In fact, people should be talking about Ibrahimović for all of the reasons.

Indescribably awesome, for all of the reasons

Back when Ibrahimović was playing at Milan before, he made €9m per year and earned far more than that in criticism. He also at times earned Milan the accusation of being "Ibradependent." Nine and a half years ago, I weighed out the good in the bad in a piece called "Loveability or Liability?" For me, the answer was always clear. However, when he was sold in 2012 to help make up for Berlusconi's Fininvest fine, the hearts of Milan fans everywhere shattered.

Fast forward to January of this year, when the magnificent return of Ibrahimović to Milan brought hope and healing to those same fans. Even with only a six month contract, it soon became clear how important he would be to the team. Combined with Pioli's heart and the wisdom and experience of a few other players, Ibrahimović dragged this derailed Milan train back on the tracks. Once the team were given the chance to train as a team during the summer, Milan went on an unbeaten streak of 24 games in all competitions, still 19 games unbeaten in Serie A. Much of the credit for this run of form is given to the big man.

Old enough to actually be his father

Regardless of the fact that he is the same age as Brahim Diaz's father, Ibrahimović is smashing scoring records and winning accolades, including Serie A's MVP for October. All of his teammates credit him for pushing them and making them better players, and the results show. Even when he missed a penalty and had Calabria's goal called off because of his handball, he still scored in stoppage time to salvage the point when everyone was just exhausted from playing so much. 

While Cristiano Ronaldo childishly threw tantrums and broke protocol throughout his COVID experience, Ibrahimović took his quarantine like a man. Then he teamed up with the Lombardy Region to create a brilliant public service announcement advocating social distancing and the wearing of masks. He has the reputation of a bad boy, but the character of a champion.

Even the awards are not big enough for him

There is currently a movie being made about him, called "I am Zlatan," that is due out next year. The specialists at the University of Pittsburgh want to study him because of his incredible recovery from his knee injury in 2017, one of them saying, "It's not human. I've never seen anything like it." That injury at that age would have spelled the end of a career for other players. But not Ibrahimović. He is truly remarkable for all the reasons.

Perhaps not even human

There are truly not enough words of praise in any of the five languages that he speaks to describe Ibrahimović. But he is also important for other reasons. Initially, in coming back to the club, I feared giving his crooked agent Raiola that much more power over our Milan squad. But it turns out, since Ibrahimović wanted so badly to return to Milan, then renew again this summer, creating good relations with the current management could help in the renewal of Gigio Donnarumma, and future negotiations with another fellow Raiola client, our captain, Romagnoli.

Channeling his inner Boban, validating the work of both legends

There is another reason to adore the deity that is Zlatan Ibrahimović. That reason is Gazidis. That's right, the man that blocked his return to Milan a year earlier, costing us the Champions League that season with Gattuso. Despite the fact that Darth Gazidis fired Boban, who was so instrumental in bringing Ibrahimovic back, Ibrahimovic's very existence proves that Gazidis was wrong all along. 

The fact that Italian news sources just praise Ibrahimović day in and day out for doing exactly what Maldini and Boban said he would – give leadership and experience to this young team – is a daily reminder as to what a failure Gazidis is on the sporting side of the club. The loss of Boban was an unforgivable tragedy, but Ibrahimović standing up to Gazidis in training just ahead of the restart tells us that Ibrahimovic has the same courage and sense of justice as our Croatian legend, and he is willing to stand up against evil management and protect our players and our club.

Defying all of the odds, and gravity, too

Certainly, we can go on and on about Ibrahimović the athlete, the teammate, the leader, the person, and the phenomenon. But don't forget that in proving Gazidis and perhaps even the world wrong, he saved us from another Year Zero and validated the amazing job Boban and Maldini have done to have the youngest average squad in Europe at the top of Serie A right now and growing. Even with the "Eternal Ibra" factored into that average. Don't just worship Ibrahimović for the obvious reasons. Worship him for all of the reasons.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "Invincible"

Zlatan Ibrahimović: All of the Reasons Zlatan Ibrahimović: All of the Reasons Reviewed by Elaine on 2:23 AM Rating: 5
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