Ibra Profile: The New (and only?) King Of Juve (1 Viewer)

ADP Timers

Senior Member
Feb 4, 2004
4/25/2005 12:26:00 AM
They say the cream always rises to the top.

Evidence of the explosive natural ability of this Bosnian-Swedish forward has been delightfully palpable this season. For his technical ability to be matched by on-field productivity is a reality many experts and fans are digesting with pleasant surprise.

The delicious skills and outstanding solo performances of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (known as ‘Ibra’ on the football-crazy peninsula) are a shining light amid some dark times of suffocating constriction, deep in the bowels of a withered Old Lady.

I remember the first time I watched Ibra on a live broadcast from the Stadio Delle Alpi. What is now a relatively innocuous incident occurred that day that stuck in the memory - encapsulating much of the player’s style and character. An over-hit cross fell to towering striker near the right corner flag in the opposing half. He controlled the ball instantly, shielded it easily and swept between and around three players to the very corner of the penalty area. Instead of centring or swinging in a left foot cross he glanced up briefly and fired a spinning snapshot from the outside of his right boot that bended just over the far corner of the goal frame. It was a taste of the kind of improvisation and self-belief that was to follow. To have maintained this zest and unwavering enthusiam in a team starkly bereft of the fantasy element of football is an achievement in itself.

Juve’s season hangs in the balance after some inept performances resulted in surprising and heavily mediated defeats. The recent Lazio encounter saw another listless display that heralded unlikely victory – it may be a stay of execution for the Old Lady and her Scudetto hopes. The two-horse race in Serie A seems to fluctuate each week, but Bianconeri backs are against the wall despite the Olimpico win. To say that Ibra’s fantastic debut term has papered over the multiplying holes in the La Vecchia Signora machine is a gross understatement. His three-match suspension could prove to be the major factor if Juve fail to secure the title. That is the mark of the man.

Some sublime performances have brought Marco Van Basten comparisons (ill-advised as they may be), and Ibra has become the undisputed main attraction at the Stadio Delle Alpi. A combination of desperate form and recurring injury has curtailed the influence of waning attacking teammates Alex Del Piero, David Trezeguet and Pavel Nedved. Indeed, we have now arrived at a point where, as a fan, the cultured conjurer formerly of Ajax is the only reason to watch Juventus play at all.

Late August saw a few raised Italian eyebrows when, on the final day of the summer transfer window, Luciano Moggi acquiesced to Fabio Capello’s wishes and rubber-stamped a bid in the region of fifteen million euros for the coveted Eredivise starlet. Italian fans had recently sipped a emotional psychological cocktail of admiration and grief when Ibra pulled off that delightful aerial back heel, against Italy, in Euro 2004. Looping over the clamouring defence, between the cross bar and Christian Vieri’s head, and finally nestling into the Azzurri net. The equalising goal proved crucial to the eventual elimination of Giovanni Trapattoni’s side at the tournament’s embryonic group stage.

The subsequent spending spree was surprising for a number of reasons. As a sporting institution, Juventus are the most unyielding and calculating in the modern game – especially when it comes to parting with the green. The Bianconeri rarely gamble. Huge foreign signings from outside Serie A are a rare, nay freak occurrence (Trezeguet, Darko Kovacevic and Thierry Henry were exceptions). When the financial bottom dramatically fell out from the increasingly ostentatious football world a few summers ago, Juve were well placed to comfortably adapt to the enforced economic austerity. Recruiting Ibra for such a sizeable fee was significantly more than a calculated risk. His average seasonal goal tally for the Dutch Eredivisie’s biggest club, Ajax Amsterdam, barely broke into double figures. The received wisdom among pundits was that this talented but temperamental lad was not a natural finisher, and that his top-drawer build-up play often brought no end product.

His summer stardom turned heads and extinguished many myths. In truth, his overall ability should never have been in any doubt. Sure, he was/is raw but there is so much to nurture and cultivate. Ibra’s choice of a move to the Orange ArenA proved an ideal stage to hone his considerable talents. Capello had been close to signing him from the Swedish league when in charge at Roma. No doubt the ex-Milan and Real tactician is happy he waited. Back then who knows where the hot-headed youngster would have found the space to flourish amid feverish squad competition, in a league teeming with canny defenders so adept at physically and psychologically submerging attacking flair.

Yet this year he has surprised many in adapting to the rigours of Serie A superbly, and so quickly – already out-scoring any of his yearly Eredivise tallies. The situation is quite ironic. One shudders to think what state the ultra professional organisation of Juventus FC would be in if they had chosen not to take the expensive, last minute risk of capturing Ibra in the final hours of the transfer window - it is not as if he resided at the top of many clubs wish lists.

The player still has his faults in front of goal of course – see the missed second-leg opportunity against Liverpool as an all-encompassing reference. These are the chances he spurns, those that he must learn to tuck away. But the superb hat trick (though admittedly against a defensively poor Lecce side) showcased his outstanding variety of qualities - Ibra is capable of scoring the most difficult of goals. He has the strength, touch, turn of pace, confidence and dribbling skills to negotiate the blindest of alleys and the heftiest of roadblocks. The more he nets the more confident he will become and the sharper in front of goal he will be – he has everything else a professional player could wish for. It’s clearly bad news for the rest of Serie A.

Fabio Capello, in utilising some bygone stereotypes, presented perhaps the best analysis of the Bianconeri's crown jewel. He recently proclaimed that Ibra married all the flair and technical prowess of a Slavic footballer with the drive, will to win and positive ambition of the Nordic equivalent. The mixture has proved as potent as it is entertaining.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to become the new idol of Juventus, a superstar for the present and future, who offers what all fans crave and gleefully receive when it is exhibited – something a little different.

John Rowlands


In Conte we trust!
Oct 27, 2004
I read the last piece when it says that he is set to become the new idol, too much text to read haha :D But thanks anyway.


Senior Member
Apr 3, 2003

++ [ originally posted by - vOnAm - ] ++
A new King without the King's Jersey Number!

Baggio = 10
Del Piero = 10
ok,he's close:9 ;)


Senior Member
Jun 14, 2003
++ [ originally posted by Adrian ] ++
Zlatan and Gilardino is much nicer than Cassano.
I agree, but I still wouldn't mind Cassano.

Cassano and Ibra might not score the most goals in the world, but I cannot think of a forwardline anywhere else with as much.......arrogance.:D


Back & Quack
Mar 9, 2004
Arrogance is great. Arrogance is very underated. If Zlatan doesnt try to aim for the top, then he will never reach it. His arrogance is what will make us great.


In Conte we trust!
Oct 27, 2004
I want tridente with Cassano-Zlatan-Mutu
key to success. Nedved, Emerson and Camo or someone new behind them :D

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