Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Every Day A New Trick
Ibrahimovic puts this flexibility down to his years practising the Korean martial art, tae kwon do, which is based on kicks thrown from a mobile stance. He informed the Italian press after EURO 2004 that his goal against Italy — greeted by most observers as a stunning piece of improvisation-was nothing more than a “rnom-dollyo chagi”, a backwards circular kicking action common in tae kwon do.
His mastery of the ball on the ground in limited space is surprising in such a tall player – Ibrahimovic is 1.92m. This repertoire of flicks and tricks — which have earned him the nickname “Ibracadabra” — he puts down to a childhood spent in one of Sweden’s toughest neighbourhoods, the Rosengard area of Malmo. Ibrahimovic was born there in 1981, the son of immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was an area largely populated by immigrants, with a reputation for being full of “gangsters and criminals”, as the player put it in one interview. But the young Zlatan was happy: he had his family, his friends and a football.
“I always had a ball with me,” he said. “It was always, ‘Who can do the most beautiful trick, who can do the most difficult thing?’ That was what we tried, all the rime, in the playground. Every day I’d try to do a new kind of rrick. But after a while, it’s something you stop learning. It’s just something you do. When I cry something on the field, it’s not that I’ve decided, ‘Hey, now I’m going to do something nice’. It’s just something that happens by itself. When it works, it’s very nice. When it doesn’t, it’s bad. But you have LO think, ‘I will try it again’.”