Zlatan in World Cup: Hero or Zero

Zlatan in World Cup: Hero or Zero

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a final shot at sporting immortality Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

He is already close. When he launched himself into Neverland with that surreal, sublime bicycle-kick goal against England, he almost touched the football gods.

Sweden's second leg against Portugal in their qualification play-off offers a nation a route to the World Cup.

But the contest offers one man a chance to become something more than a fascinating footnote in the Beautiful Game's history. Ibrahimovic (above) will become history.

For a footballer who has scaled the heights across Europe and scored Champions League goals for six different clubs, Ibrahimovic risks being categorised as one of football's greatest nearly men.

Domestic titles in Holland, Italy, Spain and France might suggest otherwise, but there is an asterisk after Ibrahimovic's name. He has never lifted the Champions League and he failed to score for Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.

But that's not the asterisk. His footnote might concern the financial side of his career rather than his form.

Money appears to motivate. Cash calls the shots and determines the clubs he deigns worthy of his presence.

Fair or not, that's the perception, underlined by his move to Paris St Germain.

Ibrahimovic sold his services to Middle Eastern billionaires bankrolling a club dominated by fashion houses rather than teams in a league not remotely close to matching the his standards.

That's Ibrahimovic's prerogative. He can play where he pleases.

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