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Zlatan nets record sixth 'Golden Ball'

Zlatan nets record sixth 'Golden Ball'

Published: 08 Nov 2011 11:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Nov 2011 11:13 GMT+01:00

AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic brought home a record sixth, and fifth consecutive, Golden Ball at Sweden's football gala on Monday evening, underlining his status as Sweden's leading player.

"I hope to win two more," the 30-year-old striker said after his win, sporting his trademark wide grin.

Despite dominating the award for most of the last decade, the former Malmö, Ajax, Juventus, Inter and Barcelona player was visibly nervous before the award was announced.

"It is hard to describe. I think one has to have done it oneself in order to understand. It feels huge," Ibrahimovic said at a press conference after the guests at the glittering gala had dispersed into the Stockholm night.

Ibrahimovic, it has been reported recently, has begun to consider the end of his career, but on Monday night he claimed the fire in his footballing belly remains burning brightly.

"We have the passion, we love playing at the moment anyway, and that is what is important," Zlatan explained, pointing out that he has two years left on his contract with Milan and intends to fulfil them.

"I will play on as long as I keep developing," he said.

Zlatan, despite helping Milan to a first Italian championship in seven years and Sweden to the finals of Euro 2012 during the year, has come under fire recently in some quarters of the Swedish press.

His absence from the line up which overcame the Netherlands in the crucial final match of the Euro 2012 qualifying game gave cause to debate whether the team could do without their star and captain.

But while individually, it could be argued that he has had a fairly average season by his standards, the award of his fifth successive Golden Ball served to further underline his status within the Swedish game.

A newly published autobiography "I am Zlatan" has dominated the sports pages in the major Swedish dailies in recent days, with much of the focus being on his highly-publicised falling out with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

"I thought it was my time to tell my story... Especially for my fans who go out there and buy newspaper in which 90 percent is not correct. Now they will get my story," he said.

"It is 100 percent truth and comes from my mouth. As I said just go out and buy one, read one."

Another notable winner from the evening was Lotta Schelin who won the Diamond Ball for best player in a year which has seen her won the Champions League and claim a bronze medal at the World Cup.

"I have never had a better season, so if there were to be one year I would get it it would be this year," the Lyon and Sweden striker said.

Lyon midfielder Kim Källström won the prize for best goal of the year for his free kick against the Netherlands in the crucial final match of Sweden's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

Former French star and current UEFA head Michel Platini was in Stockholm to present the lifetime achievement award, to Kurt "Kurre" Hamrin, who was one of the stars when Sweden reached the World Cup final in 1958.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:03 November 8, 2011 by EtoileBrilliant
Sorry to bring you back down to earth Zlatan. But you didn't feature in the FIFA 2011 Baloon d'Or shortlist of 23 players of the year. And you didn't appear in the 2010 Fifa 23 man shortlist, and so on and so forth.

The fact that Zlaten is worshiped by the Swedish press is so detrimental to the interests of Swedish football, it beggars belief that these guys can call themselves professional journalists.

Can you imagine how the likes of Martin Olsson (who has a much better goal average) feel when they see this award been given annually to that one trick pony called Zlaten. They might as well ask themselves "why do I bother?"
14:12 November 8, 2011 by Jes
CORRECTION : Zlatan is NOT "worshiped by the Swedish press" ; the Swedish press is obsessed with Zlatan is if there are no other players in the Swedish national team .

It bad news when a national team which is based on the idiology of team work has only one player who can win this Gold thing 6 times . What do the other "girls" in the team have to say about this ? Don´t they get tired of having to wear their suits every year and attend a boring - sleeping -tablet -of -a gathering( polluted with horrible humour ) only to end it with yet another speach from one Zlatan .

At least the ladies side offers some "unboring" variety . You get to see a lesbian who can look quite fine in high-heels .
17:33 November 8, 2011 by Brianito
Forgive my ignorance but do Sweden really have a football team, I thought it was only "Team Zlatan" representing Sweden . Anyway, I can't wait to read his new book when it's published about all the "awards" he won from the "world class" Swedish media.
14:57 November 13, 2011 by StockholmSam
Stating that he hopes to win two more, he sure sounds like an arrogant git.
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