Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rewarded for his incredible 2013 last night, by being voted into the FIFPro World XI.
The striker was chosen as one of three attackers, alongside Ballon d'Or nominee Lionel Messi and Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The honour caps an exceptional year for the Swedish attacker who has lit up Ligue 1 since signing for Paris Saint-Germain.
The big Swede also won the covted FIFA Puskas award, given for the best goal of the year. His effort against England (in 2012) was a deserving winner, a 30-yard bicycle kick, one of four goals he scored that evening.
Some people suggested that Luis Suarez was more deserving, having scored consistenly all calendar year - despite a massive ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic. But the gong went to Ibrahimovic, and rightly so.
Zlatan finished the 2012-13 season with 35 goals and 18 assists in all competitions. He was the first Ligue 1 striker to hit 30 goals since Jean-Pierre Papin in the 1989-90 season and rightly finished as the competition's top scorer and assist leade, winning the Ligue 1 title with PSG in the process.
On 20 May 2013, Ibrahimovic was voted the Player of the Year for the 2012-13 by the UNFP. He also finished the season as the UEFA Champions League's assist leader with seven. Ibrahimovic spent 2013 creating and scoring goals for fun.
He has netted 23 goals in 24 appearances in all competitions, and has assisted a further eight goals for PSG.
In a Champions League match against Belgian outfit Anderlecht, Ibrahimovic scored the eight-fastest hat-trick in the competition's history- netting the third on the 36 minute mark. He went on to score a fourth in the second half and become the 11th player ever to score four times in a Champions League game. His third was a thunderbolt recorded at 93 miles per hour.
2013 also saw Ibrahimovic try and drag his nation to the World Cup finals in Brazil, only to be thwarted by Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Ibrahimovic netted twice for Sweden in the second leg of the qualification tie, but Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to secure it for Portugal.
Needless to say, at 32-years-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still at the top of his game. Since 2013 he has been in the form of his life, and long may that continue.
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