Most football fans in the UK would have looked forward to a time when the great Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to play in the Premier League. The Swedish international striker had been an established player in the Netherlands before gracing the top leagues in Spain, Italy and France so he only really had one more country to conquer.
Manchester United were the lucky club to land Zlatan’s signature and it proved to be a fruitful deal for both parties. The veteran helped to bring the first piece of Silverware to Old Trafford for Jose Mourinho in the shape of the EFL Cup and he became a vital player over one memorable season.
After a brief return from injury in 2017/18 however, Zlatan moved on once again, this time to the MLS and LA Galaxy. The enhanced odds offers from the bookmakers will undoubtedly slow down but it’s still worth looking over the career of such a great player.
Zlatan started his professional career with Malmo but really made his name during a three year spell with Ajax from 2001 to 2004. His scoring ratio in the Erevidisie alerted clubs around Europe and the striker set out on a much travelled path that eventually brought him to Manchester United.
Along the way, the Swede performed for Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, and AC Milan before a settled period of sorts saw Ibrahimovic play for three years in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain. That proved to be his most prolific period with a goal scoring ratio approaching one every game but the Swede had one major test left before he called time on his career.
In the summer of 2016, Ibra left Paris for Old Trafford on a one year contract with a view to extending that if he proved his worth at Manchester United. There was a brief extension, following a long term injury but for now, Zlatan looks likely to end his career in America having switched to LA Galaxy of the MLS.
Zlatan’s scoring record at international level could perhaps be considered as even more remarkable considering that Sweden were rarely challenging for major honours. They were a difficult team to beat but didn’t feature highly in FIFA rankings so his overall return of 62 goals in 116 matches is quite incredible.
He made his debut in 2001 and played on until 2016 but has now retired from international football as he looks to prolong his career on the domestic stage.
Recent Scoring Record
This is how Zlatan has performed in front of goal over the course of the last few seasons:
|Season||Ligue 1, PL, MLS||French Cup||Champions League|
|2018 (MLS)||15 goals in 17 matches||Did not appear||Did not appear|
|2017/18||0 goals in 5 matches||1 goals in 1 matches||0 goals in 1 matches|
|2016/17||17 goals in 28 matches||5 goals in 6 matches||5 goals in 11 matches|
|2015/16||38 goals in 31 matches||7 goals in 6 matches||5 goals in 10 matches|
|2014/15||19 goals in 24 matches||4 goals in 3 matches||2 goals in 6 matches|
|2013/14||26 goals in 33 matches||3 goals in 2 matches||10 goals in 8 matches|
The striker’s stats show that he seems to be getting better with age and he continued that fine run in France during his spell at Old Trafford. His two goals in the EFL Cup Final against Southampton at Wembley brought his overall total to 26 in 38 matches and that’s the sort of return that will make a player a prime target for price boosts.
Two very different offers were issued for Zlatan ahead of that game and they may be typical of what we could expect for the remainder of the striker’s career.
SportNation issued a new customer deal that promised 50/1 on United to win and Ibrahimovic to score in 90 minutes while SkyBet lifted the odds from 5/1 to 7/1 for all customers if the player scored with his head.
Both of those outcomes actually came in and either would have delivered a very nice profit for some lucky punters. We saw more of these deals for the big matches while bookies like Winner Sports and SkyBet may well list Ibrahimovic price boosts for regular Premier League fixtures.
Now that he is in the MLS, the new customer offers will tail off but look out for those regular price boosts for existing players as they should continue to be published.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be 37 in October 2018 but his performances for Manchester United and for LA Galaxy, where he scored 15 goals in his first 19 games, suggest that he can still perform at the highest level for a year or two longer. After that two-goal display in the EFL Cup Final, the player’s agent Mino Raiola said that his client would not be retiring anytime soon and predicted that he could still play for another five years.
That would take the striker up to the age of 40 so that may be a hopeful statement but it seems as though we can enjoy his talents for a little while longer. And, while he is still in top goal scoring form, the price boosts on Zlatan will not be too far away.