Manchester United ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic aka Ibra has been conferred with Sweden’s Player of the Year award for the tenth year running. He has been granted the reputed Golden Ball award for a record 11th time in his career. Zlatan first claimed the Guldbollen in 2005, then from 2007 till 2016, he has managed to win it every year. Since the trophy’s inception back in 1946, no footballer other than Ibra has ever won it more than twice. The 35-year-old Swedish football legend is now all set to be honoured with a reported 2.7 metre statue in Stockholm, as announced by the Swedish FA. The extravaganza will be erected outside Stockholm’s iconic Friends Arena.
Having been bestowed with the prestigious award , Zlatan Ibrahimovic said: “It feels unreal. Many are thinking, why him? and so on, but after all the hard work over 15 years in the national team and 20 years in my club career, it feels like it’s being appreciated. You usually get this after you die, but I still feel alive. When I die, this will live on forever.”
In addition to the statue news, Ibra was in for another surprise at the ceremony, he received a special recorded video message from England legend, David Beckham. The 41-year-old former footballer said: “You’re an amazing person, an amazing player of course, but I have also have the pleasure of playing with you. Zlatan is a player who has class, who always wants to win, and proved that at PSG. He was one of those players that it didn’t matter if we were playing in an important game or on the training field, he wanted to win. If he wasn’t winning, he was like one of my children. His passion, his love for the game has not changed, he’s still one of the greatest players to have played the game, and I am happy now he is playing for Manchester United.”
Zlatan deserves the success he has had during his elusive career. Initially starting his club career with Malmo, Ibrahimovic then travelled across Europe playing for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris-Saint Germain, he then decided to feature for a Premier League outfit. He eventually opted Manchester United as his next destination and joined them as a free-agent earlier this campaign. Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho and Ibra’s agent Mino Raiola backed his decision. He already has 8 goals and 1 assist to his name in 17 appearances for the Old Trafford outfit in addition to lifting the 2016 FA Community Shield in the ongoing season. Ibra who has scored 62 goals for Sweden in 114 fixtures retired from international football after the Euro 2016.