A big event is planned for Sunday 15 October to celebrate the Swede’s amazing career
28 September – MILAN
He won everywhere, he filled the scene – with his boundless class, his overflowing personality – for twenty-odd years of football, he knew how to be ancient and modern at the same time and if we were talking about literature here he would be out of time like all the great classics, which last forever and which each time offer new perspectives for looking at the world. He was a champion and a brand. Ibra. A sound, a sentence. Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swedish writer Bjorn Ranelid wrote: «Ibra creates movements that do not exist in the real world: his movements are jazz improvisations».
From the first to the last team, from Malmø to Milan, he represented the evolution of the center forward. 192 centimeters, 84 kilos of ideal weight, extra-large foot size 47, living proof that measurements don’t matter, because magic and grace reside in the balance, in the harmony that one knows how to find within oneself. He combined pride, extraordinary talent and physical strength like no other. It was thunder and lightning, every goal – he scored 511 in his career – a glimmer of light in the storm, every play the reaction of a genius to the banality of football. Zlatan in Croatian means: gold. Everything comes back. Bosnian father, Croatian mother, born in Sweden, raised as a footballer in Holland, exploded in Italy, with the great European clubs in his CV: Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Milan, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United, then the stop in Los Angeles. He left America with a catchphrase: “Now you can go back to playing baseball.” As a child he had learned the tricks of the trade from his friends Goran, a Macedonian, and Gagge, a Bulgarian, playing on the street, in Toernrosen – they called it with contempt the gypsies’ pitch – among the concrete of the buildings of Rosengard, the ghetto neighborhood where he is came up, in Malmø: he is himself a bignami of melting pot football. In his genes and in his education, the unpredictability of Slavic football and the physicality of Northern European football were united in marriage, but it was Italy – his beloved Italy where he spent ten years of his very long career – that gave him gave the greatest satisfaction and having completed it. From the film the first meeting with Fabio Capello, who was on the Juve bench at the time. Capello summons him to the dressing room, invites him to sit down, inserts a VHS onto an old recorder and says: «You remind me of Van Basten, but he moved better than you. Here are all his goals. He watches and learns.”
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joy and pain
In every team he was sometimes a solitary genius, sometimes a leader, a driving force, a leader of the people and a model, even a mother hen like in the last Milan, a totemic presence and centralizer of responsibility by DNA, sometimes a soldier of fortune, always a flag yes, but of himself. He has collected more than anyone else in the national championships, but almost nothing in the cups, his biggest regret. He has never won the Ballon d’Or, due to the temporal concomitance of the two cannibals, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. Did he deserve it? Yes, I’m sure he deserved it. A partner, Helena, two children, Maximilian and Vincent, the pain of a friend who is no longer with us – Mino Raiola – a life always lived in pursuit, spent proving that he is the best and reiterating it in his autobiography, «Adrenalina – My untold stories» (ed. Cairo), written with Luigi Garlando. A showman by natural aptitude, his cyborg pose is enough to attract attention – as in Sanremo – the propensity to joke – «Zlatan, is it true that you bought a Porsche? No, I ordered an airplane. It’s much faster »or« What gift did I give my wife for her birthday? Nothing, she already has Zlatan” – or an appearance, as in the film of the saga of “Asterix and Obelix: The Middle Empire”, where he played the role of Antivirus. The Trento Festival (Sunday 15 October, Teatro Sociale, 2 pm) pays homage to him with a great event to celebrate his splendid career. Ibra was the least classifiable among the greats of football, a hymn to beauty and harmony, between lightness of touch and triumph of biceps. He stopped playing football a moment ago, he has never stopped feeling like a football man. There will still be a destiny to share. Ibra is infinite: there is time for flip-flops.
September 28 – 09:14
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