Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has put his failure to land a Ballon d’Or award down to not fitting the “Mr Perfect” mould of perennial winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Despite registering over 500 club goals for the likes of Juventus, Inter, Barcelona, Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, Ibrahimovic has never finished in the top three of the voting for the prestigious individual prize.
The Sweden international’s highest finish came in 2013 when claiming fourth place behind Franck Ribery, Messi and Ronaldo, the latter two having taken the award 12 times between them (Messi 7, Ronaldo 5).
Indeed, only Luka Modric in 2018 – after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and playing a starring role in Croatia’s run to the World Cup final – has broken that duopoly over the past 14 years.
But Ibrahimovic, who has not been afraid to air his thoughts across a remarkable 23-year career, does not believe the Ballon d’Or is awarded on footballing ability alone and therefore has no regrets about missing out.
“These are political awards. They want ‘Mr Perfect’,” he told Bild. “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.”
Ghost rider pic.twitter.com/8PGiTPhM2k
— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) March 13, 2022
Ibrahimovic is continuing to prove his worth at the age of 40 with Milan and is reportedly in talks over signing a contract beyond the end of this season, when his existing deal is due to expire.
The Malmo academy product has won trophies in five different countries, including Italy, France, Spain and England, but he has never plied his trade in the German top flight.
While a move to Bayern Munich may now be out of the equation, Ibrahimovic revealed he has a soft spot for the reigning Bundesliga champions.
“I’ve always been curious about the Bundesliga,” he said. “There are teams like Bayern Munich, 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.”
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