It was last Sunday when 16-year-old Erik Kristjansson accompanied his father, architect Gisli Kristjansson, to Ibrahimovic’s home in Malmö in southern Sweden.
The elder Kristjansson has known Ibrahimovic for some time, having helped carry out renovations on the Swedish footballer’s home.
Son Erik, a passionate young footballer, couldn’t pass up on Zlatan’s offer to have a kickabout in his idol’s back garden while dad worked. And the AC Milan star was immediately impressed by the 16-year-old’s skills.
After a few minutes of kicking the ball around Zlatan took a break and placed a phone call to Italy.
”Zlatan came out and said, ‘How would you like to try playing for Milan?’,” Gisli Kristjansson told The Local.
“We said, are you joking, and he said it was no joke. We couldn’t believe it.”
Erik was on a plane to Italy the following day train in AC Milan’s youth development programme.
Father Gisli is proud of his son, although the speed of Erik’s journey from the modest pitches of Malmö to one of European football’s most successful clubs has been hard to grasp.
“It’s like a fairy tale,” he said.
“I’m a bit nervous, but football is Erik’s life and as a father, how could I say no to an opportunity like this.”
Even though he doesn’t yet have a return ticket from Italy, Erik has the support of his teammates from his current football club, Malmö’s IF Limhamn Bunkeflo.
“We say congratulations to Erik and have our fingers crossed from him with AC Milan. Some really exciting news and an inspiration for the entire team. We’ve all got our fingers crossed,” the team said in a statement on its website.
Speaking with the Sydsvenskan newspaper, Erik was hopeful that his surprise invitation from Zlatan could lead to bigger things.
“My life is football and this is the chance of a lifetime,” he told the newspaper.
“I don’t know when I’m coming home. Hopefully never.”