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Ballon d'Or

Ibrahimovic explains why he has missed out on Ballon d’Or wins to ‘Mr Perfect’ pair Messi & Ronaldo

15:04 BST 27/03/2022
The enigmatic Swedish striker claims he was always going to be overlooked for prestigious individual honours because he likes to speak his mind

Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims to have been overlooked for Ballon d’Or recognition on a regular basis down the years because he does not fit the “Mr Perfect” mould that France Football have been looking for in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Two iconic figures of the modern era have collected 12 Golden Balls between them, with a remarkable duopoly of the global game only being broken on one occasion by Croatian midfielder Luka Modric in 2018.

Ibrahimovic’s exploits across a stunning career, which have seen him register over 500 club goals while still going strong on AC Milan’s books at 40 years of age, would have expected to put him in contention for a prestigious individual prize at some stage, but he considers himself to be too outspoken.

What has been said?

Explaining why he has never been a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or award, enigmatic Swedish striker Ibrahimovic has told Bild: “These are political awards. They want ‘Mr Perfect’.

“If you speak and say what you think you can’t get them.

“It’s easy to give them to Mr Nice Guy. It doesn’t change anything for me, it doesn’t make me better or worse.”

What is Ibrahimovic’s highest Ballon d’Or finish?

The veteran frontman, who is looking to help Milan chase down long-awaited Serie A title glory in 2021-22, has never secured a top-three spot inside the Ballon d’Or vote.

His best finish came in 2013 when he claimed fourth place.

Ronaldo took the ultimate prize on that occasion, as he set the world alight with Real Madrid, with Barcelona talisman Messi taking runners-up honours and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery finishing in the bronze medal berth.

Is Ibrahimovic happy with his achievements?

A man with 120 international caps to his name has never shied away from talking up his achievements, with Ibrahimovic rightly of an opinion that he will take up a standing among the all-time greats when a day comes to hang up his boots.

He has claimed major honours in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and England, while also spending two productive years in MLS with the LA Galaxy.

Memorable stints have been taken in at Malmo, Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, but Ibrahimovic’s remarkable career has never taken him to Germany.

There is a tinge of regret there on his part, with a mercurial talent admitting that he has always been a fan of the Bundesliga.

He has added: “I have always been curious about the Bundesliga. There is a team like Bayern Munich, they are an incredible club.

“Every time I played against them I could always see their facilities, the stadium, their organisation. The history of the club is impressive.”

That boat now appears to have sailed, but there is plenty of talk to suggest that Ibrahimovic will be sticking around at San Siro for at least one more season, with another 12-month contract extension in the pipeline.

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