Dare to Zlatan. Is there anyone more mercurial, more intense , or more of an egomaniac than Zlatan Ibrahimovic? His posturing and his infamous Zlatanisms flirt with satire so much, it's not even clear how serious he actually is. Zlatan is so quoteable that journalists around the globe froth at the mouth to get a flashy one-liner from the outspoken Swede, something which he derives great enjoyment from.
This summer however, Zlatan has taken his unique brand of ambiguous cheekery to a whole new level. After a record-breaking season with PSG, one which probably ranks as Zlatan's best in his professional career, the Swede has dominated headlines like few players have been able to beforehand.
The "Will he? Will he not?" saga surrounding a possible reunion with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United has reached fever pitch in recent months, and Zlatan has enjoyed stoking those gossip-fueled flames. Just listen to what he said in his press conference about his potential destination.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic toying with journalists just like defenders the world over...https://t.co/PmJhCb5XH4— TheFootballRepublic (@TheFootballRep) June 1, 2016
Yes. Zlatan is king, and we are all pawns in his little game. He is the puppet-master, pulling at strings and laughing as we all dance in unison. Because nobody will know where Zlatan goes unless Zlatan says so. Even his commercials for Volvo speak of less of a man, and more of a Hollywood trope. Less Zlatan Ibrahimovic, more Jason Bourne.
Yes, it's all absolutely ridiculous. Yes, his eccentric ego makes it hard to take him seriously. That's kind of the point. Unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, whose ego manifests itself as an extreme form of vanity and preening, Zlatan is playing a game. His cheeky smiles and over-the-top proclamations are annoying, yet endearing.
While other players are bastardized by fans for being too much of primadonnas, Zlatan is different. He's like a good action movie, cheesy yet entertaining. Football's John McClane if you will. He is a walking, talking satirical avatar that represents the overwhelming celebrity status that modern footballers enjoy.
Perhaps, one day, Zlatan will clue us in on the joke. Maybe he'll let us in on his game. Until then though, we're all just along for the ride, and it's pretty damn entertaining.
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