Zlatan Ibrahimovic is an amazing footballer. He’s also an incredible and renowned d-bag.
And not necessarily in that order.
Both skills were on display Tuesday as Ibra’s Sweden side thrashed the tiny Faroe Islands 2-0 in a World Cup qualifying match in Gothenburg.
The 31-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker scored both goals for the Blågult—his 40th and 41st for his country—as they fight to qualify for Brazil 2014.
But he also threw a ball in the opposing goalkeeper’s face, he nearly decapitated an unsuspecting defender (see right) and, if reports are to be believed, he also talked some serious smack for most of the match.
According to ESPN blog “The Toe Poke”:
After the game, it was revealed that Ibrahimovic spent a large swathe of the evening repeatedly referring to his opponents as "a bunch of fisherman" and boasting about how much money he earns
While it shouldn’t be particularly surprising to hear about—Ibrahimovic once told then-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola that he had “no balls” and that in signing and misusing Ibra on the pitch, he "bought a Ferrari but drive it like a Fiat"—this is approaching a new low.
And for a man who often refers to himself in the third person—as in when he was asked once what he bought his wife for her birthday, he responded, “Nothing, she already has Zlatan”—that’s not necessarily something to be proud of.
Per Spanish newspaper MARCA, Ibra was frustrated that the Faroe Islands players were "provoking" and being "a load of cry babies."
"They were complaining all the time," he said after the match. "I have never come up against a team that moaned so much. They were trying to provoke as well but they should just concentrate on jumping and playing, if they did that they may get a point or two."
Why Ibra would feel the need to demean unknown players from a nation currently 162nd in the FIFA rankings, a nation that has never qualified for a World Cup or European Championship, I can’t say.
"Zlatan is such a good player, we don't understand why he is in such a bad mood,” Faroe midfielder Símun Samuelsen told MARCA. “We play hard and honest, but we do not try to humiliate anybody like this.
"We are a small country and it is strange that he wants to put us down even more. Ibra tells us we are fishermen and yes we are. It is a part of our culture.
"I can't understand why he behaves like that to us. We finish work at four and then go training in the evening."
So simply for being normal people and not megastars like the great Zlatan, they’re worthy of treatment like this?
Even after the final whistle, in an interview with Swedish media, Zlatan mockingly made reference to his "no-look pass" to Faroe Islands goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen, per "The Toe Poke."
Male reporter: Do you think it was a yellow [card offence]?
Male reporter: It should be a yellow.
Zlatan: Absolutely not. The goalie talked some ***t, so of course I'm throwing the ball at him.
Female reporter: Did you aim for him?
Zlatan: No, I wasn't even looking, as you can see... *smirk*