AC Milan star is still soccer’s most spectacular striker

Sunil Kumar
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He may be in his 40th year, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is sitting pretty at the top of the Serie A goal-scoring charts after finding the net for AC Milan in typically acrobatic fashion on Sunday.

The veteran striker popped up with a vital 87th-minute winner in Milan’s 2-1 victory at Udinese (stream the replay on ESPN+ in the U.S.), a result that saw the Rossoneri cement their place at the summit of the Italian top flight.

The tumbling overhead kick was Ibrahimovic’s seventh goal in just four Serie A appearances so far this season, and his 12th in his last eight league games stretching back into last season — and it is a welcome addition to his ever-growing career portfolio of jaw-dropping strikes.

Ibra is clearly still feeling as fit as ever, so much so that he even appeared to tease a return to the Sweden national team with a tweet on Monday.

Where does Zlatan’s latest stunner rank in the great pantheon of his acrobatic goals scored for his country and former clubs such as Ajax, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and LA Galaxy? We’ll let you be the judge.

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“Ibracadabra” didn’t take long to introduce his astonishing flexibility to the Ajax faithful, nudging home against AZ with a twisting flick that would soon become his trademark.

Ibrahimovic earned a point against Italy in the group stage of Euro 2004 with a goal that still doesn’t really make any physical sense, no matter how many times you watch it.

As ranked by Inter themselves as the best goal ever scored for the club (specifically, scored against Bologna, it should be said), Ibrahimovic squeezed in front of his marker to put an exquisite backheeled finishing touch to Adriano’s cross.

Blink and you’ll miss it! Ibrahimovic managed to send a cheeky outside-of-the-boot flick hurtling into the back of the net with all the force of a runaway freight train as Le Classique ended in a 2-2 draw.

Sweden vs. France, 2012

Another excellent goal scored at a European Championship, with Ibrahimovic once again shining on the continental stage thanks to a ballistic scissor kick against France at Euro 2012. Alas, Sweden still exited the tournament at the group stage despite their impressive 2-0 victory over Les Bleus.

Sweden vs. England, 2012

This spectacular goal, in the first match at the new Friends Arena in the Swedish capital of Stockholm, likely still gives Joe Hart the shivers. Ibrahimovic capitalised on a misguided charge out of the penalty area from the England goalkeeper to score from distance with his fourth goal of the night in a 4-2 win for the Swedes. Just to throw in a little extra pizzazz, the Sweden captain chose to do so with a spontaneous 40-yard bicycle kick.

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bastia, 2013

Just 10 minutes had elapsed when Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock at the Parc des Princes with a brilliant improvised backheel volley. With the ball pinging up into the air inside the penalty area, the PSG striker stood his ground before hooking an inspired shot past a bamboozled Mickael Landreau.

Paris Saint-Germain in Hong Kong, 2014

Okay, we know it’s only a training session ahead of a preseason friendly against Kitchee, but still — how can you not be entertained when Ibrahimovic is bending the laws of physics to his very whim?

Ibrahimovic employed his Taekwondo black-belt prowess to score with a bewildering roundhouse volley befitting a martial arts master. The goal was doubly notable for being the striker’s 500th career strike for club and country.

Ibrahimovic stunned New England with a revolution of his very own after teeing himself up and then scoring with an overhead kick to claim both the goal and the assist. Sadly, the Galaxy target man’s 84th-minute pearl proved to be little more than a consolation as his side failed to find an equaliser.





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