Zlatan Ibrahimović (born on 3 October 1981 in Malmö, Sweden) is a Swedish football striker of Bosnian and Croatian parentage who plays for Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona and the Swedish national team.
As of February 2009, Ibrahimović, along with Kaká, were the highest salaried football players in the world with an annual pay of €9 million. Ibrahimović won the Capocannonieri on 31 May, 2009 with 25 domestic goals during the season. He currently holds the record for the second highest transfer fee in football history, with a total of €69 million. On 28 July, 2009, Ibrahimović was ranked as the 5th best footballer in the world of the 2008-2009 football season.
Ibrahimović signed his first contract with his hometown club Malmö FF in 1996, and moved up to the senior side for the 1999 season of Allsvenskan, Sweden's top-flight league. That season, Malmö finished 13th in the league and were relegated to the second division, but returned to the top flight the next season. Arsenal coach Arsène Wenger unsuccessfully tried to persuade Ibrahimović to join, while AFC Ajax coach Leo Beenhakker also expressed interest in the player after watching him in a training match against Norwegian side Moss FK. On 22 March 2001, a deal between Ajax and Malmö regarding Ibrahimović's transfer to Amsterdam was announced, and in July, Ibrahimović officially joined Ajax for €7.8 million.
Ibrahimović received little playing time under manager Co Adriaanse, but when Adriaanse was sacked on 29 November 2001, new coach Ronald Koeman inserted Ibrahimović into the starting lineup as Ajax won the 2001-02 Eredivisie title. The next season, Ibrahimović scored twice in a 2-1 victory over perennial French champions Olympique Lyonnais in his Champions League debut on 17 September 2002. He scored four Champions League goals overall as Ajax fell to AC Milan in the quarter-finals. In his final season with Ajax, Ibrahimović's profile rose when he scored a breath-taking goal against NAC Breda on 22 August 2004, a goal that was eventually voted the "Goal of the Year" by Eurosport viewers. He netted only once in the 2003-04 Champions League (against Celta de Vigo on 22 October) as Ajax were eliminated in the group stage.
On 18 August 2004, Ibrahimović injured fellow Ajax teammate Rafael van der Vaart during an international match against the Netherlands, which led to accusations from van der Vaart that Ibrahimović had hurt him intentionally. This led to Ibrahimović's sudden sale to Juventus on 31 August.
Ibrahimović moved from Ajax to Juventus for a €16 million transfer fee. He was promptly inserted into the starting eleven due in part to top scorer David Trezeguet's injury problems, and scored sixteen goals. Near the end of the season, Juventus reportedly rejected a €70 million bid for him from Real Madrid, which was later revealed to be a publicity stunt initiated by Ibrahimović's agent, Mino Raiola, in order to increase his market value. On 14 November 2005, he was awarded the Guldbollen, a prize awarded to the best Swedish footballer of the year.
The following season was poor compared to his first season; his role in Juventus' attack changed, as he became less of a goalscorer and moved more to the sidelines, taking much part in the build-up play, especially as a target player, and his assist numbers increased. In the 2005-06 season, Juventus fans often got frustrated with him due to his anonymous presence in certain important games such as the Champions League defeat to Arsenal. Juventus were stripped of their last two Scudetti as part of the verdict from the Calciopoli scandal, and were relegated to Serie B. The new staff tried to persuade Ibrahimović and other top players to stay with Juventus, but the player and his agent were adamant to move on, with Raiola threatening legal action in order to extricate Ibrahimović from his contract.
Ibrahimović signed a four-year contract with Internazionale on 10 August 2006, few days after Patrick Vieira completed the transfer. Internazionale paid Juventus F.C. for €24.8M.He revealed that he supported Internazionale when he was young,He started his spell at the club by scoring one goal and assisting another in a league match against Fiorentina and ended his first season as Inter's top goalscorer with 15 goals.
Ibrahimović played his 100th Serie A match on 16 September 2007. His contract was renewed in 2007, last until June 2013. He was estimated as the top of footballer wages.He scored two Champions League goals in the group stage against PSV on 2 October, which marked his first European goals since December 2005 and his first goals overall in an Inter jersey, and finished with five goals in seven Champions League matches. Against Parma in the final league matchday on 18 May 2008, he returned from a chronic knee injury and scored both goals as Inter won 2-0, clinching their third straight Scudetto.
On 16 November 2008, Ibrahimović said that he would not return to the Allsvenskan of Sweden as an active player, but he would stay the rest of his active career as a player abroad.
Ibrahimović's 2008-09 season started brilliantly, hitting the back of the net in Inter's first league match. His goal against Bologna was voted "Goal of the Year". He scored it with his heel without moving and accurately into the net from a cross by the Brazilian Adriano. Ibrahimović's form this season has so far been eye-catching, with clever movement off and on the ball, and his passing has been outstanding, such as his acrobatic pass against S.S. Lazio. He ended a month long goal drought against Genoa, handing them their first home loss of the season, making Inter the only team not to lose at home in the league. In the final league game of the season, Ibrahimović scored twice against Atalanta, securing the Capocannoniere for himself by finishing one goal ahead of Marco Di Vaio and Diego Milito.
After Maxwell completed his transfer to FC Barcelona, president Joan Laporta confirmed that there was an agreement in principle between Barcelona and Internazionale for Zlatan Ibrahimović to join the club in exchange for Samuel Eto'o, plus a fee. Ibrahimović left Internazionale from the United States on tour in the World Football Challenge on 23 July, 2009 for negotiations with Barcelona, with his last match for Internazionale being against Chelsea. After Internazionale agreed terms with Eto'o and Barcelona with Ibrahimović, Barcelona announced Ibrahimović will arrive on 26 July, 2009 and undergo a medical test on 27 July, 2009. Ibrahimović passed his medical and was presented to a crowd of over 60,000 at Camp Nou. He signed a 5-year contract, for €46 million ($65 million) and the exchange of Eto'o (valued at €20 million) and loan of Aliaksandr Hleb (with an option to buy for a €10 million fee),with a €250 million release clause, making Ibrahimović worth €66 million ($94 million). Afterwards, Hleb refused the transfer and later loaned out to VfB Stuttgart; therefore, Barcelona added a reported €3 million fee to compensate, making Ibrahimović worth a final total of €69 million ($99 million). He currently earns an annual salary of €12 million. Barcelona announced Ibrahimović successfully underwent surgery on his fractured left hand's second metacarpal on 28 July 2009. Ibrahimović returned to full training on 12 August, 2009 for FC Barcelona.