Daring, flashy, innovative, volatile—no matter what they call him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of soccer’s brightest stars. A top-scoring striker with Paris Saint-Germain and captain of the Swedish national team, he has dominated the world’s most storied teams, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, and AC Milan. But his life wasn’t always so charmed.
Born to Balkan immigrants who divorced when he was a toddler, Zlatan learned self-reliance from his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. While his father, a Bosnian Muslim, drank to forget the war back home, his mother’s household was engulfed in chaos. Soccer was Zlatan’s release. Mixing in street moves and trick plays, Zlatan was a wild talent who rode to practice on stolen bikes and relished showing up the rich kids—opponents and teammates alike. Goal by astonishing goal, the brash young outsider grew into an unlikely prodigy and, by his early twenties, an international phenomenon.
Told as only the man himself could tell it, featuring stories of friendships and feuds with the biggest names in the sport, I Am Zlatan is a wrenching, uproarious, and ultimately redemptive tale for underdogs everywhere.
Until I read this book I really didn’t know much about Ibrahimovich, and surprisingly it was an interesting read; not a great read as I felt a lot of the quotes attributed to him were probably not his at all, but it was still interesting, up to a point.
I particularly enjoyed the stories about his childhood, and the insider look at the world of professional football which appeared not to be glossed over and revealed some interesting titbits about the heated games and internal politics of the teams he played for. However, I finished the book being very much on the fence about his personality, and for me this was the one part of the book that actually guaranteed it received only a three thumb review; arrogance is not an attractive quality to me, and this man has it in spades. Add this to the ‘I was once a boy from the poor neighbourhood’ speech, and it turned what was an interesting read into something almost, but not quite bordering on the ‘not going to finish this’ pile.
If you enjoy books about football (soccer) players, you may find this book both interesting to the end and inspirational, as for me I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the man himself had very little input into the writing of the book and was there to be the approving authority for publication.
This book was read as part of my 2016 Reading Challenge; a book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child or friend. This book was chosen for me by Lisa McLain-Sharp.