Zlatan Ibrahimović has become a literal gift that keeps on giving. Consider this cycle: Something happens to Zlatan (as it always does); press gets a chance to lead him toward the absurd; conscious entertainer that he is, Zlatan obliges with a “you think you know football better than me” moment; blogs and aggregators douse it in kerosene. The man has never won a World Cup, Champions League, or Ballon d’Or, but he’s made himself into a one-name star.
And for this, the soccer media cannot thank him enough. Take what happened on Monday. French icon that he has become, Ibrahimović was honored with a wax statue in Paris’s Musée Grévin. Not only did the statue avoid the creepy, uncanny valley-ness of most of these antiquated pieces, but its unveiling gave us another chance to lead the PSG star into his id-driven fantasy land.
Zlatan, now that you have this statue, what are going to go next? The question is the best combination of reverence and fluff to draw something like this out of Ibra:
“The next step? I don’t know … Maybe replacing the Eiffel Tower with an Ibrahimovic statue …”
The gift. That keeps. On giving. Thus, here we are.
Unfortunately, Zlatan’s gifts have become so frequent that merely posting another addition of That’s So Ibra no longer works. We’re desensitized; or, at a minimum, Ibra’s perpetual Ibraness has raised the bar. Even his desire to replace the Eiffel Tower seems pedestrian. He could offer to invade Russia, and we’d spare it a second thought.
We’ve gotten to the point where absurdity demands we flip the notion and consider this on its actual merits. What if Paris actually replaced the Eiffel Tower with a larger-than-life rendering of Ibrahimović?
Thinking about it, there actually are a few obvious benefits. If we got rid of the Eiffel Tower entirely, the world would have 7,200 tons of new, reusable scrap to employ. Plus, traffic around the Champs de Mars would probably clear up. But if we replace the Eiffel with a Tower Ibra, even more people are likely to flock to Paris. Ibrahimović is far more interesting than a 1,063-foot tall iron tower.
Like Ibra’s nose, the Eiffel was derided as an eyesore in its early days, yet many have come to appreciate it, for who knows what reasons. Ultimately, the tower is a ridiculously large vanity project – a testimonial as much to one city’s pride and insecurity as its ingenuity. And ultimately, Ibrahimovic’s career and image is a ridiculously large vanity project – a testimonial to one man’s pride and insecurity (and talent and drive and a bunch of stuff that don’t map neatly onto the tower). If we’re deciding between a 1000-foot iron mess hovering over Paris or a pony tail-adorned Swede with a penchant for cars and expensive watches, one’s certainly more entertaining than the other.
But back to our main point: Zlatan’s giftyness. This is man that’s helped boost the careers of so many by making soccer in Paris a marquee event, drawing the coverage and accolades that entails. And because of the image he’s crafted off the field, as well as his savvy and sense of humor off of it, he continues to make life easy for those of us who write soccer words. Even when he’s not talking to the media, he’s doing so in a way that gives gluttons something to click.
Does he really want to replace the Eiffel Tower? No, but it’d be nice if he did. He’s certainly more useful. Regardless, we got a post out of this, anyway. At this point, it doesn’t really matter if he’s serious or not.