What's the meaning of Zlatan?


ALL IN THE GAME:He’s rarely out of the news, is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic fella. He’s even attracted the attention of the French federation of the blind and visually impaired who included his image in their 2013 calendar, but not in an entirely loving way, their President, Vincent Michel, asking:

“Mr Zlatan Ibrahimovic, do you know that with your annual salary, you could fully fund the Institute’s 250 researchers and personnel who work in the department of research on diseases of the vision?”

Zlatan, you’d imagine, would be unapologetic about his Paris St Germain wage packet of over €1 million a month, in a ‘because I’m worth it’ kind of way. As The Observer quoted him saying yesterday: “Today at training journalists even started talking to me on the pitch, which is not normal. They shouldn’t be allowed. I think France is not used to having someone in their country who is of my level.” Presumably Joey Barton will have something to say about that.

And now, just to enhance Zlatan’s feeling of self-worth, he’s been added to the Swedish dictionary. Yes, the Swedish Language Council has made “Zlatan” a verb, meaning “to dominate on and off the field”. It’s quite an honour, it has to be said, maybe something we should start doing ourselves. “Katie” meaning “to pulverise”, for example?

Best of Torres could be better . . .

“We watched the best of Fernando today - but he can do better.”

Rafael Benitez, as heard by a puzzled Private Eye reader

“I am very sorry about this news Chamakh has sign a 6 month loan deal! not my pick.”

Twelve-year-old Jack Sullivan on Twitter after West Ham signed Marouane Chamakh from Arsenal. And who’s Jack? Son of West Ham owner David. Awkward

“I hope Chamakh can prove me wrong !?!?!?!?”

Young Jack again, having deleted the first tweet. Still, all those question and exclamation marks suggested he hadn’t yet been wholly convinced by his Da about the wisdom of the signing

“With Mourinho they either loved him or they hated him, but with AVB it’s the other way.”

Darren Gough, the former England cricketer who now works for TalkSport, trying to make a point about Andre Villas-Boas

“He is a really good lad and has been brilliant during my time here in terms of as a human being.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers paying tribute to Joe Cole the man, if not the footballer, as he departed for West Ham

“Do ICI send an email to another bio chemicals company telling them their new discoveries in drugs? . . . I am sure they don’t . . . Sometimes we get a photographer wandering over in the woods – but we can put wolves in there.”

Alex Ferguson explaining why he doesn’t allow photographers in to training sessions. He was probably serious about the wolves too

Not so black and white on Boateng

After booting the ball towards the charmers who were racially abusing him during a friendly match, and then walking off the pitch, AC Milan’s Kevin-Prince Boateng has received plenty of support for his actions in Italy.

Was the support universal? Well, not quite. The Mayor of Busto Arsizio, Gigi Farioli:

“It was above all the fault of a bunch of idiots . . . who didn’t know how to do their jobs properly – by which I mean the referee and some players. If these professionals had been able to do their jobs, then it wouldn’t have ruined a festival of football.”

And then he suggested that the person who should have been punished was Boateng himself.

“In any other stadium in Italy, he would’ve been sent off. But if this had been at the Bernabeu or at San Siro, Boateng would not have had such an improper reaction.”

Merciful hour.

Maradona still has his taxing issue

“I hope one day someone will say that Maradona can return to Naples without having to worry,” said, well, Maradona when he spoke to Italian TV at the recent Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai. (Generally, referring to yourself by your own name is unforgivable, but it’s Maradona, he’s entitled).

Of course, the hiccup that’s stopping him from returning to Italy is that pesky tax bill from his time with Napoli, one he rather passionately disputes, but which the authorities insist he owes.

What’s the bill at now? Well, in March of last year it was estimated to have reached €38 million, rising all the while with penalties. So, it’d be €40 million-ish by now.

“Returning to Napoli is my dream, even more so than for the fans,” he said. “However, it’s difficult for me to enter Europe at the moment, as I have an issue with the tax office.”

It’s what you’d call a Big Issue.

Hair-raising stuff from Fellaini

How’s this for ingratitude.

You’d have to hazard a guess that the quote from last week that caused the largest outbreak of head-scratching from the male section of the population was this one, courtesy of Everton’s mop-topped Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini:

“I am living in Manchester now because in Liverpool the women were crawling for me. It was too much.”

Cue a chorus of ‘Huhs?’

Quote of the week:“Balotelli, as I have said on other occasions, doesn’t convince me as a man.”

Silvio Berlusconi. You’d imagine the feeling is a bit mutual.

In numbers: €250m

That’s how much Russian club Anzhi were reported to have offered Barcelona for Lionel Messi, the bid triggering the player’s release clause. Cheap at the price, too.

“There isn’t a shred of truth in it,” they insisted, but we’ll see – Lionel Meski anyone?

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