LifeBogger presents a full story of a Football god who is popularly known by the Nicknames “Ibra” and “Ibracadabra”.
Our version of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Childhood Story, including his Untold Biography, entails a full account of notable events from his boyhood days. We then tell you how Ibra became famous.
The analysis of the Swedish Football Legend involves his Life story before fame, family life, and many off-and-on-pitch little-known facts.
No doubt, we know him for his prolific goal-scoring abilities, and for being a footballer who loves to proclaim a “god status” status, providing entertainment both on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, he is known as a goal-scoring machine while as a controversial person (off the pitch).
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Childhood Story – Early Life and Family Background:
For Biography starters, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was born on October 3, 1981, in Malmö, Sweden, to a Bosnian father and a Croatian mother who were not happily married to each other.
Their unstable marriage lasted for just two years. At the tender age of two, Zlatan witnessed his parent’s divorce, which came as a result of constant fights, child neglect, and abuse.
According to Swedish divorce laws, Jurka Gravić (Zlatan’s mother) got the opportunity to take custody of her son.
This marked the beginning of what was termed a ‘Difficult Childhood experience’ for the young lad.
According to Zlatan, ‘Living with his mother and watching a new step-father coming into his life was indeed a painful experience.’
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Biography – Product of a Broken Home:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed emaciation syndrome due to his parent’s divorce and fatherly desertion.
At some point, he experienced extreme weight loss and unnatural thinness due to a loss of subcutaneous fat muscle throughout the body.
It took quite a while before Zlatan adapted to a single-parent family. Full recovery occurred when he was allowed to re-establish contact with his father, whom he loved much more than his mum.
For Zlatan, there have been moving stories of his dad. Once, when they had little money, Sefik Ibrahimovic managed to buy Zlatan a bed from Ikea but they couldn’t afford the delivery charges.
“We carried it home between us. It’s fantastic what we did. I had time with my mother, but I really lived with my father. One time he gave all his salary so I could use it for upkeep.”
Sefik Ibrahimovic, even after his separation from his wife, was unsettled by memories of the Balkan war.
Zalatan’s Dad could not easily shake the images of his village in Bosnia being brutalized by Serbian forces.
This devastating fatherly absence resulted in Zlatan Ibrahimovic having a lonely and temperamental Lifestyle.
As Zlatan puts it, Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of my childhood story.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Bio – Origin of Stubbornness:
For Zlatan Ibrahimovic, growing up was hard. As the son of a Bosnian caretaker and a Croatian cleaner, who separated when he was two, Ibrahimovic endured rejection.
A Broken home negative effects made Zlatan Ibrahimovic develop a stubborn attitude and a dogged determination not to change bad behaviours in spite of good reasons to do so.
According to Zlatan, ”Nobody cared to ask me, How was my day?”.
But the boy with a lisp and a big nose found solace in the ethnic outsiders and the rugged immigrant communities whose gang crimes always get to the media.
His mixture with hoodlums created a new behaviour that saw his first brand of tattoos. This was a time the selfish, braggart and temperamental lifestyle really got to him.
He grew up being a ‘PettyThief’ with a speciality in stealing bikes and sweets from shops.
In an interview, Zlatan stated, “When we needed something for ourselves, all we do is to go to shops and steal .. he says. I had a particularly good relationship with the bikes.”
Zlatan, today, describes the street of Rosengard as “a paradise”.
Recently, he has stressed that he feels more at home in his old neighbourhood than in the world’s most expensive hotels, though he doesn’t forget it was also a dangerous place.
According to Zlatan, ‘Football rescued me. At some point, it was all about alcohol and drugs in Rosengard.
I’m glad I still stayed away from them. I was different because I have living proof of that.
So my message to the fatherless, who feel different or unlucky, is that if you believe in yourself you will also make it. There is always a possibility. Everything depends on you.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Biography – Early Football Career:
After receiving a pair of football boots, Ibrahimović began playing football at the age of six. He taught himself to play ball on an old gravel pitch outside his mother’s house.
On a small, dusty pitch in the estate, Ibrahimovic and his friends tried outrageous tricks and flicks, spins and shots.
The lack of space meant you had to be quick with your head and your feet. Zlatan found his calling after a series of hardcore training.
According to Zlatan, “When we played football in Rosengard, it was all about putting the ball between people’s legs, doing different things,”
he adds. “After every trick people were like ‘oohhh’ ‘eeeyy’. It was all about who had the hardest shots, the best trick, the baffling move. I loved it.”
After he turned pro, this old gravel pitch was completely remade, with rubber grounds sponsored by Nike.
He has recalled hospitalizing a teammate when he was 13 years old. When Zlatan was 15 years old, he preferred to work in the docks of Malmo instead of playing football. He was persuaded against the idea by his coach.
Ibrahimovic also found doors closing as he tried to pursue a career as a professional footballer.
Even when he joined the city’s professional club, Malmo FF, at the age of 17, the parents of one of his teammates petitioned to have him thrown out of the club.
This was because Zlatan head-butted his teammate, who happens to be the parent’s only child.
According to Zlatan, ” The player got a letter from his parents and asked people to sign it to kick me out of the club after I head-butted him.
If I could put myself in that moment today, I would say to myself ‘don’t ever do that, but I was an angry young man”.
It was at the age of 18 that He then released football could offer him a future, a path away from his difficult upbringing.
Ibrahimovic scratches the tattoos on both wrists and exhales deeply when asked if, back then, he would have believed he could achieve the things he has.
Ibrahimovic made his professional debut for Malmö FF in 1999 and helped the second-division club make the leap to the first level the following season.
The 6’5″ striker then signed with the prominent Dutch club AFC Ajax and honed his formidable skills as part of two title-winning teams, though he also developed a reputation as a temperamental player.
List of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Fights and Controversies:
He is a footballer with a bad attitude and a self-assured air of arrogance. He is the one who fights with his teammates and has been a nightmare for one particular manager (Pep Guardiola).
Although an incredible talent, Zlatan has had clashes with those around him everywhere he has played.
This could be as a result of his arrogance but also goes back to his troubled childhood, where he exhibited a fiery temper, which he struggled to contain at times.
- Zlatan has once had a high-profile fight with former teammate Rafael van der Vaart where he injured the Dutchman during an international game.
- The fight with Oguchi Onyewu left Zlatan with a broken rib.
Ibrahimovic, a black belt in Taekwondo with a penchant for kicking his teammates, came to blows with the muscular USA international Onyewu after the Swede made a dangerous tackle.
It took ten teammates and coaches to separate the two from throwing punches at each other.
Zlatan wrote extensively about the incident in his autobiography ‘I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic’.
“I joined AC Milan in 2010, and our biggest league match was approaching. The Milan derby against Inter, whose most passionate fans — the Ultras — were going to hate me.”
“On top of that, I had issues with Oguchi Onyewu, a guy in my team. He was an American the size of a house, and I told a mate in the squad: Something serious is gonna happen. I just feel it.”
Zlatan gave an apt description of the ex-Charlton Athletic player with his subsequent remarks, following which he explained the fight in its entirety.
‘Onyewu resembled a heavyweight boxer. He was nearly 6ft 5in and weighed over 15 stone, but he couldn’t handle me.
He accused me of trash-talking, but that wasn’t true. People trash-talk me. I’ve heard so much s**t over the years: ‘F****** gyp*sy’, stuff about my mum — all that stuff. I retaliate with my body, not with words.”
“I told Onyewu I did not trash talk, but he just kept on. He shushed me with his finger. Then he did it again. I saw red. I didn’t say anything, not a word.
That b****** was going to find out how I trash-talk! The next time he got the ball in training; I rushed towards him and jumped up with my feet and studs out in front — the worst type of tackle.”
“But he saw me and leapt out of the way. As we both crashed to the ground, my first thought was: ‘S**t! I’ve missed!’
As I got up and walked away I felt a blow to my shoulder. Not a good idea, Oguchi Onyewu.”
“I headbutted him, and we flew at each other. We wanted to tear each other limb from limb.
It was brutal. We were rolling around, punching and kneeing each other. We were out of control and furious — it was like life and death.”
Once things cooled down, the players shook hands, and it was only later that Ibrahimovic discovered that he had suffered a broken rib.
This was definitely not the first time he’s had a dispute with a teammate, but this was probably the first time he got injured during one.
“Afterwards, the weirdest thing happened. Onyewu started praying to God with tears in his eyes, making the sign of the cross.
This felt like a provocation, and I got more furious. I was stopped by my teammates, and I suppose that was a good thing.
It could have turned out nasty. All the time, I was thinking: ‘S***, my chest hurts,’ so we had it checked out. I’d broken a rib in the fight.”
‘It was not the first time I’d had a dispute with a team-mate.’
His controversy is one reason why he has played at numerous clubs, and also a reason why some players and fans are not his biggest fan.
Origin of ‘The Zlatan’:
Playing for his local team FBK Balkan when he was ten years old, Zlatan was brought on as a second-half sub as his team were trailing 5-0.
A very young Ibrahimovic would turn the game on its head, scoring a remarkable eight, that’s right, eight second-half goals to win the game 8-5.
This was the time the name “The Zlatan” was born. Soon, the world took notice of the young Swedish footballer with sensational abilities at such a young age.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Wife to be – Helena Segar and Children:
As of the time of writing his biography, Zlatan has yet to be married. However, he has been in a long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Helena Segar.
Helena is a former Swedish model. Even before being in a relationship with Helena Segar, Zlatan had no love affair.
They have two children together. He currently lives in Paris with Helena and his children. Helena could be Zlatan’s wife in the near future.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Tattoos and Meaning:
On Feb 14, 2015, in a match against “S.M. Caen” on scoring a goal, he took off his shirt to reveal a tattoo of 50 people names around the world, suffering from hunger. This act was in support of “U.N. Food Programme.
It is no surprise that Ibrahimovic has a number of tattoos, but he has a number of interesting ones with meanings that give us an insight into “The Zlatan”.
He has a large red dragon on his side which is supposed to be a metaphor for his warrior-like personality, and similarly, he has a Koi fish on his left shoulder which is a fish that swims upstream and goes “against the grain”.
He also has the Five Deva Faces Yantra, a Buddhist image representing the elements which is believed to fight off illness.
The birthdates of his parents and siblings are tattooed on his wrists, and he also has his sons’ birthday and father’s name on his right arm with his mothers on his left.
A few other tattoos are the words “only god can judge me” (a Tupac song) on his ribcage, and the ace of hearts and clubs on his right ribcage, which is supposed to represent good luck.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Biography – The Snubbing Master:
A fascinating take on Ibrahimovic by his childhood friend: ‘I was better than my best pal Zlatan… now he’s a star and has snubbed me for 13 years.
They didn’t always agree, particularly about football. ‘I idolized Shearer and he hated English football because I loved it so much – that’s what he was like,’ said Flygare. ‘He always said he would play in Italy and he did.’
When they were called in off the street by Flygare’s mother they would sit on the couch for hours on end, fighting over control of the games console.
‘Like twins,’ said Flygare of their relationship. ‘I was a father figure to Zlatan in many ways, he looked up to me, but he was so competitive.
Off the pitch, Zlatan is brimming with confidence and self-belief, so much so that he will often refer to himself in the third person as “the Zlatan”.
Also, he even uses his name as a verb, where “to Zlatan” is to do something with extreme skill or talent or to dominate.
His Twitter page and interviews are something to behold and attract as much attention as his on-field antics, as he almost comes across as a philosopher at times with some of his quotes.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Net Worth:
Zlatan Ibrahimović has a net worth of $160 million. A forward for the Sweden national team, Ibrahimović earns $35 million per year in salary.
A move to the Premier League with Manchester United for the 2016-17 season. After a season-long negotiation with Nike, he returned under a deal worth a reported $3 million annually through 2019.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Legal Issues:
He was once again on the wrong side of the law when he received a red card for slapping Salcatore Aroniaca in a goalless draw against “Napoli.” He was further banned for three matches by the Sports judge Gianpaolo Tosel.
Winning Titles & Club Honour:
According to Zlatan, “I always put myself second – I like to make others happy,” he explains.
“Wherever I have played, I have won (nine league titles in the past 10 seasons with five clubs). But I only feel satisfied if my teammates, the fans, everyone is happy. I have a big heart.”
Zlatan has proven how deadly he is no matter what shirt he is wearing by scoring in Europe’s greatest club competition with six different clubs. He is a ruthless goal scorer that can play well under different managers.
Respect for Brazilian Legends:
His heroes were not Swedish, even though they finished third in the 1994 World Cup. He only had eyes for the brilliance of Brazil, studying the likes of Ronaldo Nazario de Lima and Ronaldinho. He watched severally and mastered video clips on how they performed their dribbles.
According to Zlatan, “I don’t watch Sweden back then, I never did,” he says. “I loved Brazil because they were something different.
They touched the ball differently, like in field hockey, where you drag the ball. That was magic, and it felt totally different to anything I had seen before.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Bio – Issue with Pep Guadiola:
Playing with fire? Ibrahimovic has never been afraid to voice his opinions and has criticized Pep Guardiola. In fact, Zlatan has accused former manager Pep Guardiola of being a “coward” with “no balls”.
His dream move to Barcelona ended in disaster and with a total breakdown in his relationship with Guardiola.
According to him, “I had a dream to join Barcelona but now I think maybe you should keep your dreams instead of making them come true because it could have destroyed me.”
For the first few months in Spain, life went well, but then Guardiola stopped communicating. “I still don’t know why, I may never,” Ibrahimovic says.
“I tried to make contact with him – but he didn’t want to speak to me, he was avoiding me. I walked into a room, he was sitting there drinking his coffee.
But he got up, didn’t finish his coffee. I thought: ‘I’m not the problem, he is the problem.’ But there were no words, no answers, nothing.
Ibrahimovic’s frustration spilt over after a match with Villarreal. “I screamed out at Guardiola, I was screaming that he had no balls and that it was ridiculous that he did not talk to his player. I kicked over a box in front of him and sent things onto the floor.
“My idea was to get angry so that maybe he would talk to me. But nothing. He picked up the box, put it back and then walked out of the room.”
The Zlatan Dictionary Verb Registration:
After watching a few interviews with the Swedish striker, you will quickly notice one thing; he likes the sound of his own name.
So much so, in fact, that he had it trademarked in 2003. With both “Zlatan” and “Zlatan Ibrahimovic” trademarked, it means that he has exclusive rights to the name for products such as clothes, shoes and sporting goods.
In France, the word ‘zlataner’ now officially means “to crush”. In December, the Swedish Language Council registered the verb ‘to zlatan’, meaning to do something audacious or outrageously brilliant.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is more than just a footballer, he is a word, a way of behaving, a way of life.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Bio – The Taekwondo Master:
Being the sort of player and character he is, Ibrahimovic finds himself in quite a few arguments and fights both with the opposition and his teammates.
He is one player you don’t want to get on the wrong side of, as he became a black belt in Taekwondo when he was 17 years old in his hometown of Malmo.
Zlatan also received an honorary black belt from the Italian Taekwondo team. And he had the likes of Rico Lewis following in his approach to combat sports (in his early years).
His martial art abilities also help him on the pitch, as he has a phenomenal ability for acrobatic and overhead kicks despite his size, which has stunned the world many times (with England being on the receiving end of one extraordinary goal).
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Auto Biography:
The soccer star released his autobiography, I Am Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in late 2011.
The bestselling memoir detailed Ibrahimovic’s rough childhood and clashes with Guardiola and other players, and an English version was published in September 2013.
Aside from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s bio, we have other related childhood biography stories for your reading pleasure.
The Life History of the players who look up to Ibra – the likes of Anthony Elanga, Alexander Isak and Dejan Kulusevski will interest you. From an AC Milan point of view, the Life History of Malick Thiaw and Rafael Leao is exciting to read.