The greatest goal ever scored: Stunning Zlatan’s propeller kick leaves even defeated fans applauding
Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic last night scored the ‘greatest goal ever’ to round off a crushing victory over England in the first match at his national stadium.
The talented footballer’s remarkable overhead kick came when he was 30 yards from goal. He sprang six feet into the air to arch the ball over the helpless goalkeeper and into the net.
The world’s biggest football names are already queuing up to praise the goal, with even England’s gobsmacked stars hailing his achievement as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘world class’.
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England captain Steven Gerrard, playing his 100th match for his country, said: ‘It is the best goal I have seen live.
‘The best goal I’d seen before that was Wayne Rooney’s against Manchester City.
‘Everyone knows how special that was, but this one — an overhead kick from 30 yards when the ball is six feet in the air — only certain players can do that. And he is a special player.
‘This was a world-class performance from a world-class player.’
Ibrahamivic’s goal was his fourth of the match, taking the score to 4-2 to round off the first game at Friends Arena in Stockholm.
Pure delight: Sweden’s captain celebrates his outrageous fourth goal of the friendly, with the world praising the sheer audacity of his remarkable propeller kick
TWEETS FROM THE STARS
@rioferdy5 What a goal Ibra
No words can describe that goal
Oh dear! One of best goals I’ve ever seen
That was obscene. What a goal
PS… Zlatan enjoyed it too…
‘When I saw the keeper was out of his net, I tried to put it over him. It was a good try, and when it comes off it’s fantastic.’
The propeller kick came after goalkeeper Joe Hart had come out of his area to head the ball clear.
Silence fell as those inside the arena held their breath. and watched the flight of the ball. Then the noise exploded as it landed in the net.
Even England supporters stood to applaud the audacity of Sweden’s captain, thrilled to witness such a brilliant flash of sporting beauty.
Ibrahimovic ripped off his shirt, tossed it towards the crowd and shrugged as he was shown a yellow card.
Asked to rate his international career out of 10, Ibrahimovic replied: ‘Ten. When I saw the goalkeeper was out of his net, I tried to put it over him. It was a good try, and when it comes off it’s fantastic.’
Former England manager Graham Taylor said: ‘That’s the greatest goal I’ve ever seen.’
England manager Roy Hodgson, who suffered his first defeat over 90 minutes, said: ‘Ibrahimovic’s fourth goal was extraordinary and it put the tin lid on the game. It was a fantastic goal.
‘But it was the second and third goals which killed us.
‘For 60-70 minutes we played very well and deserved to be leading. There are lots of reasons to be optimistic.’
Opener: Ibrahmovic fires Sweden into the lead after 20 minutes – but Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker put England ahead before half-time
Hat-trick hero: Ibrahimovic curls home a free kick to put Sweden in front again in the final 14 minutes, and his fourth goal was then the icing on the cake
‘I AM A FERRARI’: IBRAHIMOVIC’S VAUNTING AMBITION
Sweden’s star man famously once said: ‘Guardiola (then Barcelona manager) drove me like a Fiat… I am a Ferrari.’
It was a typical comment from a man who, despite his doubters, has never been short of confidence in his own ability.
And while Ibrahimovic’s performances against English clubs in Europe have often fallen short of his high standards (before last night he had scored just four goals in 1,556 minutes against English clubs and England) his wider statistics mark him out as one of the best players of his generation.
He is the only player to have scored for six different clubs in the Champions League, and up until last season he had won eight consecutive league titles (Ajax 03/04, Juventus 04/05, 05/06, Inter 06/07, 0708, 08/09, Barcelona 09/10 and AC Milan 10/11).
And a number of managers and chairmen have recognised his talent – he has cost a combined total of £150m in transfer fees.
But missing from his CV is a Champions League victory and honours at international level.
Until those blanks are filled – though playing for Sweden makes the latter unlikely – doubts about his greatness may remain. But certainly not in his own head.
Sweden substitute Tobias Sana said: ‘It was Zlatan against children. He has been criticised in England and this proves them all wrong.’
The Sweden player became the first footballer to hit four in a match against England.
No-one had even scored a hat-trick against England since Marco van Basten in 1988.
The two England goals came after Ibrahimovic opened the scoring in the 20th minute, with Danny Welbeck and Steven Caulker taking the national side to a half-time lead.
The excitement was abruptly cut off in the last 14 minutes, however, when Ibrahimovic scored three more and went down in history.
Overshadowed: England captain Steven Gerrard, appearing for the national side for the 100th time, jostles with Ibrahimovic on the pitch before praising the player’s skill after the match
Historic moment: The Swedish press lauded Ibrahimovic as ‘incredible’ as the footballer covered the front pages