Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Hero or villain?
PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of the world's best players - but he is also one of the most misunderstood?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is considered by many to be an arrogant, cocky and overall contentious character - the ultimate bad boy.
It all started with his childhood past in Rosengard, a Malmo neighbourhood known for its immigrant communities, where he was brought up in a tough environment, due to his strict Croatian mother and hard-drinking Bosnian father. The fact that his parents broke up when he was two didn't help his upbringing. His life was in disarray and this led to stealing. In fact he stole a lot - bikes, sweets, cars, anything and everything.
During his teen years, he was constantly labelled a troublemaker for his erratic behaviour and according to his former headmistress, he was "easily in the top five of the most unruly pupils we have ever had". School was simply not for him.
He learned to play football on the streets of Rosengard on a small dusty pitch. This is where his footballing genius hails from. Perfecting his technique, tricks and flicks and shooting skills.
It was at the age of 18 when he realised he could have a future and career playing professional football. An escape route from his troublesome past.
The world of football has often witnessed the 'dark side' of Zlatan. Notorious for having fights with teammates, outbursts and verbal attacks, most notably against his former coach Josep Guardiola whom he branded a 'coward' for shunning him.
Although his time at Barcelona was a 'nightmare', everywhere else he has played he has been regarded as a hero, a winner. Winning titles and collecting numerous accolades.
The man is regarded 'more than' just a footballer. He is a word, a way of behaving, a way of life. In France and his native Sweden, 'zlataner' which means "to crush" and 'To Zlatan', doing something audacious or outrageously brilliant, have been made official terms.
This indicates that Ibrahimovic may be the 'good guy' with a big heart after all. Someone who cares about his teammates, coaches and fans and who puts himself second in terms of importance.
Someone who wants to control his temper and improve as a human being.
So the question is hero or villain?
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