The whispers about Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paris Saint-Germain’s decline are growing louder and louder. Zlatan hears you — Zlatan hears everything — and he wasted no time today offering the Parc des Princes crowd a reminder of what he can do.
In the second minute of a bizarre 2-2 draw against cold French leftovers Caen, Zlatan scored the opener is his trademark Kung-Fu master meets trick shot artist meets angry beanstalk giant style.
A wonderful goal, for sure — Ibra’s second in as many league matches — but his celebration was a bigger statement than the finish itself. After scoring, Zlatan took his shirt off and headed back to the center circle, arms raised in triumph like a golden king soaking in the adoration of his subjects after a new conquest. No concern for yellow cards, or the fact that there were at least 88 minutes left to play. Zlatan has some feeling to get off his chest; or in this case, his shoulder.
At first glance, it appeared to be a completely self-congratulatory moment (and so what if it was?), but a quick trip to Instagram adds some context. Yesterday, he posted a photo of a new tattoo of the arabic name Abdullah, meaning “servant of God.” It’s not clear who or what the name is a specific reference to — some believe it to be a tribute to his brother, Sapko Ibrahimović, who passed away last year — but it obviously represents an idea that goes beyond the game for Zlatan.
Zlatan’s been on a rampage lately. Barking at the press, referees, mortal opponents, and seemingly anyone who wants to talk to him about anything. Today’s goal and celebration may have been the culminating act in a series of frustrated performances. Then again, in the face of the serious task of trying to knock Chelsea out of the Champions League, maybe Zlatan is just warming up.