On November 14th, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored four goals as Sweden’s team captain in a game against England, including a bicycle-kick goal that stunned the world.
It was the inaugural football match at Friends Arena, Sweden’s new national stadium.
On the same day scandal broke out around the right-wing Sweden Democrat party as the newspaper Expressen published a video showing top politicians from the party making racist and sexist comments during a drunken fight in Stockholm.
While several members of Sweden’s national team criticized the Sweden Democrats after their win against England, Ibrahimovic kept quiet.
At the time, teammate Pontus Wernbloom told newspaper Aftonbladet that he hoped Ibrahimovic’s performance would “shut them up”, referring to the Sweden Democrats and their supporters.
Now, in an interview for Expressen, Ibrahimovic has spoken about his views on the right-wing party for the first time.
“I feel Swedish. I’m proud to be Swedish and I try to represent Sweden in the best way possible wherever I go in the world…What they say, it doesn’t tickle me,” said Ibrahimovic.
“The world looks the way it does. We come from all over the world and everyone gets together. My mother is Croatian, my father is Bosnian and was born in Sweden. It’s a great mix everywhere. That’s what the world looks like and you just have to accept it,” he said.
Ibrahimovic added that one shouldn’t mix football and politics.
“Football is a sport where everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. That’s why we play football; to bring everyone together, for everyone to enjoy themselves and to have a chance to practice the sport. Politics is not something I get involved in.”
He said 2012 has been his best year ever and that it was difficult to pick one highlight.
In addition to the stunning 4-2 win against England, Ibrahimovic helped Sweden make an epic four-goal comeback in a World Cup qualifying match against Germany.
Ibrahimovic said he has many favourite moments from the past year.
“I remember the end in Milan. We’re talking April, May, somewhere around that time. We had no chance of winning the league, but talk was going around about the top score charts and I was just scoring goal after goal from all directions. I’ve never scored as many goals as I did for Milan then,” said Ibrahimovic.
“Then the European Championships came and my goal against France. Even if the tournament was over for us that is a moment I won’t forget.”
He added that the game against England at Friends Arena, and especially his bicycle-kick goal, will be the first moment he remembers when thinking back on 2012 in the future.
The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter