‘Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.’
Those are the infamous words that Zlatan Ibrahimovic used to describe his response to being asked to trial for Arsenal by Arsene Wenger when he was just 17-years-old.
"Arsene gave me the famous red and white jersey - the number nine shirt with Ibrahimovic on it and I was so pleased I even posed for a picture wearing it… So then I waited for him to convince me that I should join Arsenal. But he didn't even try. He never actually made me a serious offer, it was more, 'I want to see how good you are, what kind of player you are. Have a trial… I thought 'You either know me or you don't and if you don't know me you can't really want me'."
At the time Zlatan was a teenager playing for Malmo, and his raw talent had suitors from all over looking at him.
In the end Ajax snapped him up, and the rest as they say is history.
And right now the Swede is probably in the form of his life, with his net-busting half volley one of the four goals he bagged against Anderlecht really causing ripples across Europe last week.
With the Ballon D’Or shortlist about to be named, the question of who the best player in the world is right now has been on many a pundit and fans lips - with Zlatan proving to be a popular choice among many.
At 32-years-old he appears to finally be playing the best football of his career, and seems happy at Paris Saint-Germain, where he can be the big fish in an ever expanding pond.
And now, Wenger has joined the growing throng of names who believe that at this moment in time Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are not the best two players in the world … Zlatan is currently number one.
Speaking to French TV he stated:
"Is Zlatan better than Messi & Ronaldo? Right now, I'd say he is. At 32, you know how to get the best from your talent."
Be he wishes he hadn’t offered him that trial now.
image: © prettyfriendship