Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s best goals

Zlatan Ibrahimovic entered the footballing world as an arch aesthete.

“It was all the ‘Oh, oh’, ‘Wow, look at that!’ that had gotten me started,” the legendary striker reflected in his equally revered autobiography. “For a long time I would have seen you as a stupid person if you’d said that an ugly goal was as important as a beautiful one.”

Ibrahimovic may have been chiselled into a serial winner during his time in Italy but he never lost that definitive flair.

In this file photo taken on May 22, 2022 AC Milan’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic smokes a cigar during the winner’s trophy ceremony after AC Milan won the Italian Serie A match against Sassuolo, securing the championship. Ibrahimovic has had his contract with seven-time European champions AC Milan extended by a year, the club said on July 18, 2022. (AFP)

Here are some of the greatest goals from Ibrahimovic’s sparkling repertoire of strikes.

AZ Alkmaar 1-1 Ajax (2004)


On his first visit to Ajax’s stadium, Ibrahimovic casually milled around sucking on a lollipop waiting to be unveiled. The three years he spent in the Dutch capital weren’t entirely without their sour moments but there were plenty of sweet spots as well.

Ajax took one step closer to their second Eredivisie title in three years thanks to Ibrahimovic’s pirouetting opener against AZ Alkmaar in March 2004. Peter Wijker was tugging the 22-year-old to the turf but Ibrahimovic hung out one of his impossibly long legs to flick the ball into the corner on his descent.

Italy 1-1 Sweden (2004)


Ibrahimovic famously holds an honorary black belt in taekwondo but leaned towards another strain of martial arts when reflecting on his 84th-minute equaliser against Italy in the 2004 European Championships.

Kim Kallstrom’s corner was never properly cleared. With the ball bouncing around a crowded penalty box, Ibrahimovic charged into the throng of flesh, running away from goal. He beat Gianluigi Buffon to the loose ball, contorting his hulking frame to flick a shot into the top corner from where he had just run. It was “a bit kung fu”, according to the scorer.

Ajax 6-2 NAC Breda (2004)


Ronald Koeman giggled like the Milky Bar kid on the sidelines, Nourdin Boukhari charged across with his arms aloft, joining the mass pile-on that smothered a screaming Ibrahimovic.

Everyone of an Ajax persuasion in the Johan Cruyff Arena had been blended into a state of shock and awe by Ibrahimovic’s mesmeric dribble between NAC Breda’s bumbling backline.

Everyone except Rafael van der Vaart that is. The Dutch midfielder watched on stoically from the stands, injured after an accidental (according to Zlatan) training ground collision with Ibrahimovic and locked in a public feud with his teammate.

Siding with Van der Vaart, everyone in the stadium had booed Ibrahimovic at kick-off but were now cheering his name. Everyone except Van der Vaart.

Lecce 1-1 Milan (2011)

Milan‘s first game after offering Ibrahimovic an escape route from his miserable season at Barcelona was against Lecce. However, the deal hadn’t gone through in time for the new arrival to feature.

By the time the Rossoneri travelled to Apulia in January, Zlatan had firmly established himself as the centre-piece of the league leaders.

The only assist Mathieu Flamini registered all season was originally intended as nothing more than a hurried clearance. Yet, Ibrahimovic battled two defenders off the ball to retain possession. At least 25 yards from goal, Ibra flashed a quick glance to his right and spotted Antonio Rosati off his line. With one swipe of his supposedly weaker left foot, the ball sailed over Rosati and into the net.

Sweden 2-0 France (2012)

In 2012, the Swedish Language Council added “zlatanera” to the list of new words. Now it was official, Ibrahimovic had been immortalised in a new verb which fittingly meant: “to dominate”.

The dictionary’s latest edition certainly left his stamp on France in Sweden’s final group game at Euro 2012. Sebastian Larsson looped a limp cross into the box which Ibrahimovic emphatically attacked, scissoring the ball beyond Hugo Lloris’ feeble dive to open the scoring in Sweden’s first competitive win over France since 1969.

Sweden 4-2 England (2012)

Strains of “You’re just a s*** Andy Carroll” could be heard from an indignant away end on the night Sweden’s Friends Arena was opened. They were aimed at the individual that swiftly launched himself into the night sky and above comparisons with many other players, let alone the former Liverpool and Newcastle target man.

More than 32 yards out from goal, Ibrahimovic spiked a bicycle kick over the wandering Joe Hart and just beyond Ryan Shawcross’ desperate attempts to clear on the line.

Echoing the eye-rubbing opinion of many, Sweden manager Erik Hamren gushed: “You think you are watching a computer game where you can do all these incredible things because it is not possible to do that.” For Zlatan, it is.

Anderlecht 0-5 PSG (2013)


Anderlecht have played at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium for more than a century yet only two of the club’s players have scored more Champions League goals on the ground than Ibrahimovic – who, for clarity, has never played for the Belgian giants.

On a crisp October evening, Ibrahimovic battered in no fewer than four goals against Anderlecht, with the pick of the bunch his hat-trick-sealing thunder-blaster into the top corner. According to Norwegian media outlet NRK, Zlatan’s strike would have been flagged for speeding on the motorway, clocking in at 76 mph.

LA Galaxy 4-3 LAFC (2018)

“They wanted Zlatan, I gave them Zlatan.” The increasingly arrogant bravado that Ibrahimovic fostered in the extended autumn of his career could be grating but was tolerable when backed up by genuine genius.

Six minutes into his MLS career, the brash Swede backed up his lofty billing with a ludicrous, swerving half-volley for LA Galaxy against city rivals LAFC. In stoppage time, Ibrahimovic headed in his second of the afternoon, completing a remarkable 4-3 victory after the Galaxy had trailed 0-3 with 30 minutes to play.

Toronto 5-3 LA Galaxy (2018)

Ibrahimovic scored more than 17 league goals in just one season before he turned 30. After his landmark birthday, the self-proclaimed Benjamin Button of football broke the 20-goal barrier six times
The 500th strike of Ibrahimovic’s glittering career was arguably his best. Not once does Ibrahimovic have time to look at the goal. Running across the box, the then 37-year-old hoisted his leg at least six feet off the ground, flicking the ball in off the post to bring up a staggering landmark with a fitting goal.







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