Zlatan Ibrahimovic was once refused hat-trick match ball by referee Tony Chapron

  • Rob Swan
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It’s no secret that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has an exceptionally high opinion of himself.

The Swedish striker, now 39, is famous for blowing his own trumpet at every opportunity - although it’s hard not to feel that he puts on an act at times.

Surely nobody could be *that* arrogant, even if he is one of the best forwards of his generation.

Aside from being incredibly self-confident, Zlatan is also physically imposing.

He’s 6ft 5in tall, ripped to shreds and has a black belt in taekwondo.

It’s hardly a surprise, then, that not many people have stood up to Ibra down the years.

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When referee refused to give Zlatan hat-trick ball

But one man who did is French referee Tony Chapron, who refused to give Zlatan the match ball after the striker scored a hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against Lorient in March 2015.

After netting all three goals in a 3-1 victory at the Parc des Princes, Ibrahimovic approached Chapron and demanded the ball for his collection.

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But there were bizarre scenes when Zlatan left the pitch without the ball, which Chapron had kept hold of.

Footage was then released from inside the tunnel, where Ibra again asked for the ball.

“Ref, the ball!” Zlatan said.

Chapron replied: “Wait. I decide.”

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Zlatan then said: “Ah, you want to be the boss now. Okay, good. You’re the boss. Good for the camera!”

Watch the footage here…

Why did Chapron refuse to give Zlatan the ball?

Three years later - after Chapron had retired from refereeing following a six-month ban ban for kicking out at Nantes’ Diego Carlos during a Ligue 1 fixture - the former match official explained why he refused to give Zlatan the ball.

"He arrived close to me he just clicked his fingers and said; 'The ball!'" Chapron told BBC Sport.

"I have four daughters and when we're together and they ask something, if we don't have the word 'please' at the end of the sentence, there is no reaction.

"So, it's the same, it's a kind of education. I think it was a kind of disrespect. There is something wrong with society if we forget the simple things such as 'please' and 'thank you'.

"It was the beginning of the Ibrahimovic show, because nobody says no to Zlatan. I was probably the only one."

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The Frenchman added: "He is a very annoying guy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"Not only with referees, he was always blaming his team-mates, always trying to cause some trouble with the opponents.

"He was a crazy guy. I think he's a fantastic player, but on the pitch he's someone else. And it was very difficult as a referee.

"I hope for him that he's a kind of actor, because he says so many things, crazy things, I hope he doesn't think what he says."

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